Parisians are rallying behind a woman who was hit in the face during a confrontation with an alleged street harasser.
Marie Laguerre said she was walking to her home in Paris on July 24 when a man whistled at her and said “humiliating and provocative” things to her.
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In a Facebook post about the incident, Laguerre said that since it wasn’t the first incident of that kind of the day, she told him “ta gueule,” which translates to “shut up.”
“Because I don’t tolerate this kind of behavior. I can’t keep quiet and we mustn’t keep quiet,” she wrote, originally in French.
That’s when she said the harasser turned around and followed her down the street.
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During the confrontation, she said he threw an ashtray at her, which missed her head by inches.
“I refused to look down, I looked him right in the eyes, I was not going to apologize,” she told Le Parisien.
In security camera footage from a nearby café, he can then be seen hitting her in the face before running away.
“I was in pain, but it got so twisted in a few seconds, I did not realize it right away,” she told the French newspaper.
Customers at the café tried to stop the attacker, but he has so far not been identified.
Paris police have opened an investigation into the incident, The Guardian reported.
The incident is one that lawmaker Marlene Schiappa, the French minister for gender equality, says happens all too frequently.
“This video illustrates the continuum of sexist and sexual violence. It starts with obscene noises, then cries and then insults and threats and then a blow. We must stop it from the beginning,” she wrote on Twitter.
“It is not tolerable that in France, in 2018, women are hit in the street because they refuse to be insulted when they walk. It is a fundamental issue of freedom. That’s why fighting street harassment is a priority,” she continued.
The rules laid out in a bill to be passed this weekend in France would force street harassers would be fined between 90-750 euros (CAD$137-1,144). Repeat offenders could face fines of up to 3,000 euros.
Schiappa previously told Reuters that street harassment would include situations such as asking a woman for her phone number a dozen times when she has made clear she is not interested.
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As for Laguerre, she told Le Parisien she’s happy the café had video of the incident, as such things could be hard to prove.
“I am very lucky to have been able to recover the video, it is a good tool for the fight of women,” she said.
On Facebook, she wrote: “These men who think they’re all allowed on the street, who can humiliate us and don’t stand to be offended, that’s unacceptable.”
“It’s time for this kind of behavior to stop,” she continued, adding the hashtag #NousToutes, which means “all of us.”
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