Video of woman being hit outside cafe sparks inquiry as France considers harassment fines

0
10


A French student has told of her ordeal after she was attacked by a man in a Paris street.

Marie Laguerre says the man began by harassing her and when she told him to stop he hit her in the face outside a cafe.

CCTV footage of the incident has gone viral and comes as France is planning to impose on-the-spot fines for harassment in the street.

Ms Laguerre, 22, was returning home from work on 19 July in the 19th district of Paris when a man started making obscene comments and “noises with sexual connotations”.

She said: “It wasn’t the first time – that day, that week, or that month, it had been building up. I got angry and said ‘shut up’. I didn’t think he’d hear but he did.”

Architecture student Ms Laguerre told French TV that the man then became angry and threw an ashtray which missed her by inches.

After firing insults at her, the man walked towards her and is seen in the cafe’s video striking her across the face.

She said: “I knew he was going to hit me. I could have run off but there was no question of that. I wasn’t going to look down and certainly wasn’t going to apologise.

“I was absolutely stunned. He had the front to be angry when it should have been me that was angry.”

Customers remonstrate with the man, far left  Video of woman being hit outside cafe sparks inquiry as France considers harassment fines skynews marie laguerre slaped 4375934
Image:
Customers remonstrate with the man, pictured far left

Onlookers remonstrated with the man but Ms Laguerre went home. However, she decided to go back to the cafe about 20 minutes later to look for witnesses and get statements for police.

She added: “I’ve experienced sexual aggression but the first time I have been hit in the street.”

“I’ve decided to speak out and not stay silent to denounce this kind of thing that happens to all women. I was really lucky that it was caught on video.

“It allowed me to shine a light on the fact that women don’t feel safe on the streets. It’s truly an enormous problem.”

Police are investigating the attack on Ms Laguerre but the man has yet to be traced.

The French government is preparing to introduce a law that will punish sexual harassment in public spaces with on-the-spot fines.

The law covers behaviour including comments on a woman’s looks or clothing, catcalling, intrusive questions, unwanted following and “upskirting” – taking pictures under a woman’s dress without her knowing.

Equalities minister Marlene Schiappa said: “What’s at stake is serious – it’s the freedom of women to move about in freedom in public.”

She said she was appalled by the incident and said a number of women had complained of being groped in the street as France celebrated its World Cup victory earlier this month.

The Parisien newspaper used the headline “Filmed proof” on its front page on Monday after the video went viral on Twitter on Saturday.

The initiative to introduce on-the-spot fines has resonated among French women as the #MeToo movement and its French equivalent #BalanceTonPorc (“rat on your pig”) have gathered increasing support.



Source link

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.