A group of around 30 activists, led by prominent feminist Caroline De Haas, responded on Wednesday with a scathing critique
, published on France Info.
They accused the signatories of deliberately mixing “seduction, based on respect and pleasure, with violence.”
“Sexual violence is not ‘intensified flirting,'” they wrote. “One means treating the other as your equal, respecting their desires, whatever they may be. The other is treating them as an object at your disposal, paying no attention to their own desires, or their consent.”
They also criticized the letter’s claim that the movement risks going “too far,” and the suggestion that it’s the responsibility of women to protect themselves from intimidation.
“When will we ask the question about men’s responsibility to not rape or abuse?” they wrote, describing the letter as “a bit like the annoying colleague or the tiring uncle who doesn’t really understand what’s going on around him.”
Sandra Muller, founder of the #BalanceTonPorc (“squeal on your pig”) movement — the French equivalent of #MeToo — also denounced Tuesday’s letter.
Speaking to CNN, she described it as “buzz for the sake of buzz” and criticized the signatories, saying “they are just going to sap the morale of the numerous victims who try to have a bit of courage.”
“Feminism is not about protecting sexual liberation,” she added, “but about protecting women.”