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Harassing women in the streets of France could become a public offense

Category: Gender based violence 

France is considering new legislation that would make it illegal for men to harass women in the street — the so-called “cat calling” and “wolf whistling.” Marlene Schiappa, France’s under-secretary for gender equality, wants to introduce new legislation that would prosecute man who take part in street harassment. A recent national survey showed that almost every woman has faced public harassment, which sparked a debate around the issue.



Schiappa said that there is a clear difference between “consensual seduction, which is legal, and sexual assault, which is an offense,” and she has tasked five MPs with looking at appropriate measures and punishments that could be taken. The call for legislation (which already exists in countries like Belgium and Portugal) has already caused a backlash, with some saying politicians were just trying to outlaw “heavy Latin chat-up lines,” and others suggesting it should only be prosecuted when police officers actually witness an offense. During his campaign for president, Emmanuel Macron repeatedly called for an end to women being harassed in the street.


Tags: France Marlene Schiappa street harassment law

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