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French President François Hollande has pardoned Jacqueline Sauvage, who has spent the last three years in prison for killing her husband after decades of abuse. In a statement from Hollande’s office, he “considered that Madame Sauvage’s place was no longer in prison, but with her family.”
J’ai décidé d’accorder à Jacqueline Sauvage une remise gracieuse du reliquat de sa peine. Cette grâce met fin immédiatement à sa détention.
— François Hollande (@fhollande) December 28, 2016
For years, citizens have been protesting and petitioning on Sauvage’s behalf. Sauvage said her husband, Norbert Marot, raped her and beat her, and also abused their children. In 2012, she shot him in the back after he awoke her from a nap by hitting her in the face and demanding she make him dinner. Sauvage argued self-defense, but according to French law, self-defense must be “proportional and in direct response to an act of aggression,” according to the Guardian.
Hollande granted the pardon after meeting with Sauvage’s three daughters, one of whom was raped by Marot and described his death as a “relief” in court.
Sauvage’s story resonated with many abuse victims. Sauvage was married at 18 and lived isolated from friends and family, which many abusers rely on to keep control of their victims. Sauvage, who was originally sentenced to 10 years in prison, will be released in April.
Jaya Saxena is a lifestyle writer and editor whose work focuses primarily on women's issues and web culture. Her writing has appeared in GQ, ELLE, the Toast, the New Yorker, Tthe Hairpin, BuzzFeed, Racked, Eater, Catapult, and others. She is the co-author of 'Dad Magazine,' the author of 'The Book Of Lost Recipes,' and the co-author of 'Basic Witches.'