how to disable character escaping in collection_select

I have a drop down using collection_select

  <%= form.collection_select(:country,@countries, :name, :name,options
={:prompt => t('services.req_form.country_prompt')}, :escape => false )

I read somewhere that putting :escape => false in the options would
disable character escaping.

This does not seem to work. I am using the unicode values for french
accents and need to display the accent. However Rails helper escapes the
ampersand so I get the wrong code "&amp;" instead of "&".

How can I stop this from happening.