Valerie Bacot: goes on trial for killing her abusive husband in France
On Monday in the French city of Chalon-sur-Saône the murder trial of a woman who killed her abusive husband got underway.
Valerie Bacot, 40, in her bestselling book Tout Le Monde Savait (Everyone Knew) admitted to shooting Daniel Polette dead in self-defence in 2016. She faces a life sentence for murder.
“It’s with that same gun, in another forest one day and so he wouldn’t kill us that I killed him,” Bacot wrote.
Bacot said Polette, 25 years her senior, first raped her when she was 12 years old. At the time, Polette was her mother’s boyfriend, but Bacot refers to him as her stepfather in the book. In 1996 Polette was convicted of rape of a minor and spent two and a half years in prison, Bacot’s lawyer Nathalie Tomasini told CNN. Bacot wrote in her book that after Polette was released he started abusing her again and she was impregnated by him at the age of 17.
Over the course of 18 years, Bacot and Polette had four children together, two of whom helped bury their father’s body after Bacot shot him. During the investigation, the children narrated the abuse their mother had to face at the hands of Polette.
Bacot told the police she was subjected to repeated beatings and humiliation by Polette and that he forced her to prostitute herself. On multiple occasions, Polette allegedly told Bacot that if she left him, he would kill her and their children.
Prosecutors argue that the killing was pre-meditated while the defence says Ms Bacot felt she had to kill him to protect herself and her children.
“These women who are victims of violence have no protection,” lawyer Janine Bonaggiunta told AFP. “The judiciary is still too slow, not reactive enough and too lenient towards the perpetrators who can continue to exercise their violent power.
“This is precisely what can push a desperate woman to kill in order to survive.”
A petition not to imprison Bacot was launched online by advocates in January, which has so far received more than 580,000 signatures.
The trial is being held in Chalon-sur-Saône in central France and is expected to last about a week.
Written by Dhriti Chaturvedi