When I first arrived in the Paris region in 1999 to do research on the struggle by undocumented immigrants (les sans papiers) for basic human rights, discussions of violence against women were remarkably absent from the public arena. Nongovernmental organizations and researchers had begun to broach the topic, but with little public visibility. However, this changed in late 2000, with a media explosion on the issue of les tournantes, or the gang rapes committed in the banlieues of Paris. Such tournantes involve boys “taking turns” with their friends’ girlfriends, both parties usually being of Maghrebian or North African origin.
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