Woman slapped by harasser says new French law falls short
Marie Laguerre said she has received messages of thanks from women and men for posting a video of a man slapping her last month in eastern Paris.
A woman who is becoming a symbol of sexual harassment on France’s streets says a new law banning offensive comments and behaviour is not enough to stop them.
Marie Laguerre, 22, said she has received messages of thanks from women and men for posting a video of a man slapping her last month in eastern Paris.
Surveillance cameras recorded the violent encounter after she told the man to shut up for making obscene sounds at her, she said.
While the footage went viral after she publicised it, Laguerre said in an interview with The Associated Press she thinks punishing harassers won’t address the problem as much as changing attitudes through education.
The law is “almost a joke,” the student said during an interview with The Associated Press.
Parce que j'ai répondu à son harcèlement, un homme m'a frappée en pleine rue, en pleine journée, devant des dizaines de témoins. Inadmissible. Stop au harcèlement de rue. #noustoutes #metoo #balancetonporc #harcelementderue @MarleneSchiappa https://t.co/lV9AIKndlX— Marie Laguerre (@may_lgr) July 28, 2018
“I don’t think it’s realistic because it means having police officers on every street,” she added, saying officers also need to be educated to recognise harassing behaviour.
French lawmakers approved a bill on Wednesday to outlaw gender-based harassment on the streets and public transportation.
The law allows for fines of 90-750 euro for sexual or sexist comments and behaviour that is degrading, humiliating, intimidating hostile or offensive.
It also authorises a fine of up to 15,000 euro and a year in prison as possible sentences for “upskirting” — taking pictures or videos under clothing without consent.
“The law sends a message, but for me it’s not enough,” she said, noting that French President Emmanuel Macron promised to make combating sexual harassment and violence a national priority.
The law, which is set to take effect in September, also expands the criminal definition of child rape to cover cases involving an adult and a child under age 15 if a judge determines the minor lacked the ability to consent.