France: Pro-migrant activist raped by homeless migrant is ‘shocked’ to see her rapist on the street

By John Cody
5 Min Read

A pro-migrant student activist who was raped by a homeless migrant says she is shocked to have encountered the man on the street before his trial began.

The man’s trial is set to start tomorrow, Dec. 14, after police arrested him in 2021 for allegedly raping 23-year-old Océane Decan at knifepoint in a Bordeaux parking lot, which means the trial is only beginning for a case that happened two years ago. The 58-year-old suspect, Yero Ba, was released from pre-trial detention in September of this year, which allowed him to roam the streets until his trial began.

The man is unemployed, homeless, and has a long criminal history for violence and sexual assault, according to French newspaper Sud Ouest.

Ba was released by the trial judge despite the prosecutor’s recommending the migrant stay in detention until his trial began.

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Decan is a pro-migrant activist

However, the case has taken somewhat of a twist, with French media outlet Infos Bordeaux writing that the case is getting special attention because the victim is a friend of the left and involved in pro-migrant activities:

“If feminist associations, usually very silent in the face of this type of rape, have decided to publicize the case, it is because Océane Decan is one of them. Very committed to the left, she has fought for the cause of migrants since her young years.

A high school student in Jean-Brito (Ille-et-Vilaine), she was already mobilizing her classmates to help migrants through food collections. Before joining Sciences Po Bordeaux, she was involved in numerous organizations helping foreigners (Amnesty International, Utopia 56, Sos Racisme, etc.).”

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Decan has been vocal about her own personal case, even if her own advocacy for open borders — along with the NGOs she is affiliated with — has led to increased sexual harassment of women and an explosion in rape cases across France.

She describes how she first saw Ba “by chance” as she was out walking despite the man being arrested for raping her.

“I wasn’t warned. One day in October, I was walking in the center of Bordeaux and I came across him on Rue Sainte-Catherine: He was playing guitar and panhandling. It was a shock. It reawakened everything. Now, I have panic attacks, I don’t dare leave my house. As soon as I have to go into town, I have to be accompanied,” said Decan. French media reports that she is on sick leave and suffers from “post-traumatic stress disorder,” according to her psychologist.

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Women’s rights groups are calling for a rally against the man’s early release. When he appears at his trial scheduled for tomorrow, he faces up to 20 years in prison for the alleged rape at knifepoint.

“Once again, the justice system is failing to protect victims of sexist and sexual violence,” a number of feminist groups wrote in a press release, also calling for a rally in front of the courthouse.

Decan says the man managed to lure her into an underground parking garage in 2021, where he sprung a “trap.”

“Suddenly, his tone changes and he pulls out a knife about 15 centimeters long. He says he’s going to kill me. I’m stunned, I can see myself dying. He’s forcing me to be raped,” she said. A witness nearby intervened to stop the rape midway.

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Foreigners are responsible for 69 percent of rapes, sexual assaults and sexual harassment on French public transport. As French President Emmanuel Macron has admitted himself, half of all crimes committed in Paris are committed by foreigners, but researchers say this figure is actually as high as two-thirds.

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