"This 72-year-old woman's tragic story shook social networks and moved the population after she was sentenced to ten years in prison for killing her husband, who had beaten her for 47 years," local outlet La Republique du Center recalled.
In October 2014, she was sentenced to ten years in prison for murdering her husband with three rifle shots.
During her trial, Sauvage claimed that she had no intention of killing him. However, she had no choice but to respond to the physical, verbal, and sexual violence she suffered.
Both at first instance and on appeal, two juries found her guilty and the Prosecutor's Office stated that the legitimate defense could not be invoked because she could always abandon her husband, which she did not do.
Just IN���� NIGERIA: The Delta State House of Assembly on Tuesday passed the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) bill to curb all forms of violence against residents of the State. The bill is crucial because, issues, such as #FGM and gender violence will be tackled by it.���� pic.twitter.com/GdteG1ij98
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July 29, 2020
Her case came to light when a solidarity committee collected hundreds of thousands of signatures asking then-President François Hollande to release her.
In December 2016, he granted Sauvage a full pardon, which allowed her to be released from prison immediately, after having spent four years locked up. The decision to release her got the consensus of the French parties, from the extreme left to the extreme right.
She became a symbol of those women requesting that ill-treatment can be considered as a reason for legitimate defense. This mitigation, however, was not taken into account in her judgment.
Sauvage’s family has been marked by tragedy. Her son committed suicide the same day she killed the husband, and her three daughters reported that their father had also raped them.