Sunday 22 July 2018

Paris launches 'shock' poster campaign against sexual harassment on public transport

Paris launches poster campaign against sexual harassment on public transport Photo: RATP
Paris launches poster campaign against sexual harassment on public transport Photo: RATP

Henry Samuel

Paris has launched a “shock” information campaign against sexual harassment to “liberate women’s speech” on attacks, persuade witnesses to help and punish “predators”.

Starting from Monday, users of public transport will be confronted with posters of scared women clinging to a metro pole surrounded by frightening beasts, such as a bear, a shark and wolves – supposed to symbolise men who harass them.

“Let’s not play down sexual harassment. Victims and witness, raise the alarm!,” reads the message.

Passengers can phone a special number, 3117, or use an application using the same numbers or a text messaging service on 31177 to help geo-locate the victim and alert security agents to an incident around the clock.

The campaign is designed to “shock people a bit into feeling the fear that women have when they take public transport”, said Valérie Pécresse, conservative president of the Paris area.

“We’re not stigmatising men, but predators,” she added. “Concerning harassment, there really is a law of silence. Women suffer it but it’s tricky to go and denounce it. That’s what predators count on.”

Marlène Schiappa, the French gender equality minister, hailed the campaign, saying that transport authorities had a “major role to play to lower society’s tolerance bar on street harassment in general and on public transport in particular”. 

A pilot scheme enabling passengers to flag down buses between stops will be launched in Seine-Saint-Denis and Melun in the Seine-et-Marne outside the the French capital.

According to surveys, some 87 per cent of female users of public transport say they have been the victim of sexist or sexual harassment, and in some cases rape, and six out of 10 fear they will be attacked.

Some 43 per cent of serious attacks against women in the Paris area take place on public transport.

“We’re not stigmatising men, but predators,” she added. “Concerning harassment, there really is a law of silence. Women suffer it but it’s tricky to go and denounce it. That’s what predators count on.”

Marlène Schiappa, the French gender equality minister, hailed the campaign, saying that transport authorities had a “major role to play to lower society’s tolerance bar on street harassment in general and on public transport in particular”. 

A pilot scheme enabling passengers to flag down buses between stops will be launched in Seine-Saint-Denis and Melun in the Seine-et-Marne outside the the French capital.

According to surveys, some 87 per cent of female users of public transport say they have been the victim of sexist or sexual harassment, and in some cases rape, and six out of 10 fear they will be attacked.

Some 43 per cent of serious attacks against women in the Paris area take place on public transport.

Telegraph.co.uk

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