While the age of consent was previously 15, prosecutors in France had to prove that sex was not consensual in order to receive a rape conviction.
“This is a historic law for our children and our society,” Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti told the National Assembly.
“No adult attacker can obtain consent from a minor under the age of 15.”
The vote for the bill was unanimous in its final reading, the gathering said on Twitter.
Some lawmakers have raised concerns that an age of consent below which sex automatically constitutes rape could criminalize a consensual sexual relationship between a minor and someone only a few years older.
As a result, a “Romeo and Juliet” clause that allows sexual relations between a minor and a person up to five years older than him. The clause does not apply to sexual assault.
In a country that has long valued its self-image as a land of seduction and romance, sexual abuse against women and children remained undetected or undeclared for years in the upper classes of power and in celebrity circles.
But there has been a lot of searching for souls in recent years.
The #MeToo movement, which went around the world in 2017 after numerous women accused American film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, turned out to be a turning point in France. One of them was the loss of grace in 2020 for a French writer who had written openly about his pedophilia.
France had tightened its sex crimes laws back in 2018 when it banned sexual harassment on the street and faced potential fines on the spot for cat callers and aggressively horny people.