Hospitals that house pornographic or sexist frescoes in duty rooms will have to remove them, “in consultation” with interns, according to a ministerial instruction sent in mid-January, but published on Wednesday.
This decision is part of the “zero tolerance policy” displayed in the face of “moral or sexual violence against health students”, argues this instruction from the Directorate General for the Provision of Care (DGOS ). This note, dated January 17 and revealed by the Hospimedia news sitepoints out that “several disputes closed or in progress” have targeted frescoes.
Referred to in summary proceedings by the association Dare feminism in the name of “the dignity of women”, the administrative court of Toulouse (Haute-Garonne) thus ordered in December 2021 the removal of certain decorations from the duty rooms of the city’s university hospital. In 2015, a fresco in Clermont-Ferrand mimicking a gang rape between superheroes sparked controversybefore being deleted.
An “internal opposition”
Since then, hospitals have spontaneously removed or modified murals, “sometimes in a climate of opposition from interns”, notes the ministerial document. Even today, some of the “carabins” (medical students) remain attached to bawdy and grotesque representations coming from a tradition whose origin and meaning are described in several works. And there are still “rifle frescoes” of a sexual nature in certain establishments.
Noting a lack of consensus on the subject, the Ministry of Health asks the hospitals concerned to “organize the removal of all the murals of a pornographic and sexist nature in a timetable which provides for consultation” with the representatives of the interns. In the event of persistent disagreement, the regional health agencies will be able to “impose” the disappearance of these paintings.
Asked by AFP, the National Intersyndicale des Interns (Isni) does not oppose these directives, but asks “that means be released” to ensure the conservation of frescoes of heritage interest, for example in hospital museums , as has already been done. In addition, “our duty rooms must remain places of life: we must not sanitize these rare places where interns can exorcise a daily life that is not easy”, underlines Olivia Fraigneau, president of Isni.