Woman Talks Back to Harasser; He Hits Her in the Face

The attack coincides with legislation outlawing 'street harassment' in France
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2018 2:48 PM CDT

(Newser) Surveillance video footage of a 22-year-old woman being hit in the face in front of a Paris café has again pushed the issue of sexual harassment to the forefront in France, the Local reports. Marie Laguerre was walking home on July 24 when, she says, a man passed her on the sidewalk in front of a café and made lewd noises and comments. Her response: "Ta gueule!" (shut up). They kept walking in different directions. But the man picked up an ashtray from a table and threw it at Laguerre, who yelled at him. "I felt hatred. I refused to be demeaned," she told Le Parisien, per the Guardian. Then the man walked back to Laguerre, hit her in the face, and walked away. Since the attack, Laguerre says she has suffered headaches and neck pain. The video went viral after Laguerre got it from the café owner and posted it online.

So-called "street harassment" is an ongoing issue in France; in a 2015 survey, 100% of female commuters polled said they had been sexually harassed. Regarding the attack on Laguerre, French Equalities Minister Marlène Schiappa said she was outraged, but not surprised. Schiappa was the driving force behind new legislation that will impose fines of $105 to $878 for annoying, following, and threatening women. She tells the BBC that authorities should start handing out fines this fall. As for Laguerre, "I am sick of feeling unsafe walking the street. Things need to change, and they need to change now," the Guardian quotes her as saying. Though an inquiry has been opened, authorities have yet to identify a suspect.

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