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The Relationship of a Young Girl With an Older Man in France Is Highlighted by Writer Publisher Vanessa Springora

An Air Warrior and prolific writer with over 200 published short stories and 14 books on fiction



Throughout the history of human relations, a relationship between a man and a woman is unique. Further, a relationship between an older man and a very young girl maybe who is even 30 or 40 years younger than the man does raise eyebrows. There is no getting away from this fact. In the present age, many acts and covenants have been framed which seek to bring such men who are termed as pedophiles to face the consequences off their actions. Despite this, every second day accounts of relationships between very young girls who are in reality teens and mature men who maybe three or four decades older to the girl's surface.

In France, a small storm has started blowing. A 47-year-old publisher cum writer, Vanessa Springora is publishing a book titled "Le consentment" (consent). The book is not an autobiography but is a novel. Reading through the book brings out the fact that Vanessa Springora is claiming that she was "groomed" by Gabrielle Matzneff at a time when she was a minor. She refers to the word "groomed" which in reality means seduction. When the incident took place Vanessa was 14 and the man she accuses of seducing her, Gabrielle Matzneff was 50. It meant he was older to her by 36 years. Gabriel Matzneff is now 83 and is recognized in France as a man of letters and a literary giant.

The novel is due to be published early next year and has caught the imagination of the French people. The book also brings out the sordid state of affairs of the print media, intelligentsia, and the intellectuals who have been condoning this sort of relationship ever since one can remember.


The Book and Relationships

Vanessa Singnora's book will be released early next year. The book centers on the story of her seduction by Gabrielle Matzneff. The book has aroused a lot of interest in French literary circles. One, however, cannot compare it to the "me to" brigade that came up after the accusations against Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood film producer surfaced in 2017.

The book is to be commended for presenting facts in a candid manner, though in the form of a story. Vanessa does not suggest that Gabrielle in any way used any form of coercion or force to seduce her. She says that she cannot write anything else but to say that she gave her consent to a relationship with a man who was 36 years older than her. However, a reading of the book shows that there is more to it than such a candid admission.

The entire episode of her "grooming" the word which she uses to describe her relationship with Gabriel has to be seen in a different perspective. She was only 14 when her parents divorced and she was passing through a traumatic period of her life.

Gabrielle took advantage of this confusion in her mind and began to solicit her. According to the writer, Gabrielle would send her flowers and letters. He would await her outside her school and then take her for a spin. It was not long before he had his way. He would often take her home, however later he changed tracks and would pick her up from school and take her to a hotel. The reason for this was that the police had become suspicious of the relationship between the writer and the schoolgirl and they wished to question him.

This was not for long as the age of consent in France is 15. She reached the age and Gabrielle continued his sexual liaison with her. The entire book is written in the form of a novel and nowhere does she use the full name of the man who groomed her. She uses only his initials GM but a reading of the book will show that she refers only to Gabrielle Matzneff.

Her accusation coming after almost three decades reveal a lot about the type of culture prevalent in France. In particular, the conduct of society that overlooked such relationships. This was despite it became apparent the Matzneff took a controversial stand on many issues. The French president ignored the conduct of Matzneff and honored him with many literary awards.

The general opinion among the public and the various TV channels on such relationships can be gauged from the fact that Gabrielle had written a letter in support of three youths who had been accused of improper contact with three boys aged 14 years and below. He was supported by no less than the great French writer Jean-Paul Sartre and your Simran Bieber.

The mind of Matzeff can be gauged from these episodes. He has also gone on record on TV and boasted that he has seduced many girls who were of the age of 15 and above. The writer was careful to mention the age of 15 years and above because as I have already pointed out the age of consent in France is 15.

It must be noted that the age of consent is not a subject of discussion in France and most people feel that a girl who is 15 and gives her consent for a relationship with a man then perhaps it's pretty okay.

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The Predators

When the contents of the book were revealed to the public and French writer Matzneff came to know about them he has expressed his "extreme sadness" at the revelations. He has denied all allegations and has said that this is a plan to tarnish his reputation as a writer.

One wonders whether anything will come out of the allegations made by Vanessa other than increasing the sale of her book. Society at large, particularly in France has not condemned a carnal relationship with girls below the age of 15. After all, what is the difference between a girl who is 14 years five months and 15 years? it is interesting to read the opinion of Bernard Pivot who was the celebrated TV talk show host and journalist at that time. He had interviewed Grabielle many times on TV in his chat and talk shows. In the shows, Gabrielle had boasted of his exploits and even confessed to a relationship with young boys while on a visit to Vietnam. He has summed up the atmosphere at that time as being very permissive. He confesses that he did not realize the gravity of the confessions of Gabrielle when he was interviewing him.

Relationships of girls below the age of consent in France and older men have been the subject of many writers throughout history. There are also many practical examples of them. The celebrated painter Picasso had umpteen relationships with women and girls who were three or four decades younger to him. This was perhaps one of the inspirations for its creativity.

The Hindu "Kama Sutra" mentions that for the regeneration of the mental health of a man a relationship with a younger woman is desirable. But this cannot be extended to the fact that such a relationship can be with a girl who is below the age of consent because if she is below that age and she gives her consent under whatever inducement, the law does not recognize this and can be treated as a crime.

Matzelle is now 83 and Vanessa is 47. The relationship she talks of is three decades back. All one can say is that it is only a book and not likely to lead to any prosecution because the law of limitations bars any action against Matzelle as over three decades have elapsed.


MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 29, 2019:

John, Thanks for commenting. The writer himself has accepted the novel targets him and he has responded. The French literary world has accepted the contents of the novel as almost like an autobiography.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on December 29, 2019:

Interesting article MG. What bothers me a little was Matzneff boasting on talk shows about having sex with 15 year olds as well as young boys in Vietnam. This does not sit well with me.

You say the book is a novel and not an autobiography however. That being the case it could be argued that any accusation in the book could be fiction.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 29, 2019:

Thank you Pamela, I completely agree with you. Thank you for commenting

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 29, 2019:

This is a story that we hear all too often. This girl was very vunerable with her parents divorcing.

That is different than what we have read about Epstein who even had associate that flew to an island to have sex with teens. I think regardless of a man's desire a teen is not mature enough to make a good choice. So, even if she consents I do not think it should happen.

Your article about this woman is very interesting.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on December 29, 2019:

Thank you Alan for commenting. I think it's a question of trust and Marielle failed there.

Alan Smith on December 28, 2019:

Nice article but I don't see what wrong Matzelle has done. Maybe he can be accused of succumbing to desire but that is a normal human failing. No coercion or force so I think it's ok. Maybe he should have waited a few months more for his action.

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