France to crack down on catcalling

EPA/ETIENNE LAURENT

French junior minister in charge of gender equality Marlene Schiappa arrives at the Elysee Palace for a cabinet meeting in Paris, France, 24 May 2017.

France to crack down on catcalling


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To crack down on sexual violence and harassment, France’s gender equality minister will table new anti-street harassment legislation. Marlène Schiappa‘s proposals include on-the-spot fines.

Under Schiappa’s plans, which were announced on October 16, a taskforce of politicians will work with police and magistrates to establish what sort of behaviour constitutes sexual harassment.

“The idea is that society as a whole redefines what it is acceptable or not,” she told La Croix newspaper.

News of the proposed law comes amidst a growing debate about male predation in France, sparked by the sexual assault allegations against US film producer Harvey Weinstein.

As reported by the BBC, French President Emmanuel Macron said on October 15 he would be stripping the Hollywood producer of the prestigious Legion D’Honneur award.

During his first in-depth television interview, Macron also said his government would take steps to better define acts of sexual violence under the law.

In an interview with RTL, Schiappa explained that the French bill, which will be voted on by MPs next year, is “completely necessary because at the moment street harassment is not defined in the law… We can’t currently make a complaint”.

As well as cracking down on harassment, the new legislation will give people who experienced sexual assault as a child more time to make a police complaint, and toughen laws on sex with minors.

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