Tuesday, 22 October, 2019

Shocking video of woman hit by street harasser in France sparks uproar

Screen grab from bar in Paris' 19th arrondissement where Marie Laguerre 22 was hit by a man she told to shut up for harassing her in the street The attacker was immediately confronted by witnesses at the bar Credit Telegraph
Patty Aguilar | 01 August, 2018, 02:59

The video (see below), which has since gone viral, shows the young woman being hit in the face by her aggressor as she walked past a cafe terrace.

Laguerre also posted the video on YouTube, where she wrote in French, "This is unacceptable behavior".

She said the government is preparing to push through this autumn a law that will punish sexual harassment in public spaces with on-the-spot fines, part of President Emmanuel Macron's pledge to combat sexism.

Offenders will have to pay between €90 and €750 ($NZ150-$1260) under measures backed by French MPs in May and set to complete its passage through parliament this week.

The man started wolf-whistling and making provocative comments at Ms Laguerre as she passed by.

"It wasn't the first time - that day, that week, or that month, it had been building up". It had been building up. That he dared to be angry when it was me who had reason to be angry.

At that point the man became angry and threw an ashtray, missing her by inches, she added.

The incident occurred last Tuesday when a man began to behave in a lewd manner towards her as she walked past a bar on her way...

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"I knew he was coming to hit me, it was clear from his gestures, it was clear from the exchange of words and his intentions". I could have run off but there was no question of that. "I refused to look down, I looked him right in the eyes, I was not going to apologize".

She continued, "This is not the only incident".

Walking briskly behind her is a bearded man in a black T-shirt with his jacket slung over one shoulder.

She went home shocked, but returned to the scene 20 minutes later to collect witness statements, while the owner of the cafe gave her the CCTV recording of the 24 July attack which went viral after she posted it on her Facebook page. As she turned to face him, he slapped her, hard.

"I felt hatred", Ms Laguerre told Le Parisien.

The incident is being investigated, but the attacker has yet to be identified.

Some French feminists, however, including a number from an older generation, criticised the movement because, in their interpretation, it somehow sought to police sexuality. They don't exercise after dark, they pay extra to get home because they don't feel safe walking or catching public transport, and they feel a consistent fear that men are not subjected to. "Even more so if it happens several times in the course of one day", she explained.

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