CCTV footage of a man striking a woman in the face in central Paris, after she rebuked him for harassing her in the street, has been met with outrage and prompted an investigation. France’s gender equality minister, Marlène Schiappa called the assault an attack on the “freedom of women”, ahead of the introduction of on-the-spot fines for street harassment, including wolf-whistling.
Marie Laguerre, 22, was walking home in the evening when she encountered the man near the terrace area of a bar. On social media, she wrote of the encounter: “I walked past a man who sexually/verbally harassed me.”
“He wasn’t the first one and I can’t accept being humiliated like that, so I replied ‘shut up’.”
“He then threw an ashtray at me, before rushing back to punch me, in the middle of the street, in front of dozens of people.”
She later told Le Parisien that the man also wagged his tongue and groaned suggestively, and that she had incurred injuries to her cheekbone and eyebrow.
“He rushed towards me. I looked at him straight in the eyes,” she said, in a filmed interview. “And I took the blow with the utmost pride just to show him that if he thought he could put me back in my place, it hadn’t worked.”
“I don’t know a single female friend who hasn’t been harassed or sexually assaulted. It’s got to stop,” she said.
Fines of up to 750 euros (US$875), to be introduced via a bill scheduled to be passed this week, will depend on the alleged perpetrator having committed a blatantly “sexist act”, defined as “any act linked to the sex of a person with the aim of violating their dignity or create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating and offensive environment”.
Watch CCTV footage of the encounter below:
Read the full story at The Telegraph.