Everywhere women go in Paris, they are often subjected to catcalls, insults, grabbing, and worse.
Camille Regnier, a 21-year-old actress who lives in Paris, drew the line when somebody masturbated in front of her on the train.
Last week, when she was on the subway she looked up to discover the man was masturbating in the middle of the train while staring at her reflection in the window, BuzzFeed reports.
She then took a picture of him and posted it on Facebook with a comment detailing what had happened and expressing her frustration at the frequency of these occurrences. She mentions how she talked to him but did not get a reply.
“What’s wrong with respect?? Is it because that I’m a woman that I have to experience your evil perversity every day? I’m tired of living in this city,” she wrote.
This kind of behaviour already prompted Japan to introduce women-only carriages on their trains, due to the high number of women reporting complaints. Different public transportation services in Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia also offer women-only sections. Due to the spike in reported sexual harassment on public transport in the UK, they have also been considered there.
Paris could potentially benefit from women-only carriages, as well. A survey by the High Council for Equality between Women and Men that came out in April asked 600 Parisian women if they had experienced sexual harassment on public transportation. One hundred per cent said yes.
Since the survey came out, the French government has announced a series of new laws and initiatives aimed at curbing the trend. Among those are a text alert system designed to report harassment rapidly and posters that will encourage bystanders to intervene to protect victims. Those posters warn offenders they could expect up to five years prison sentence and a fine of up to $US75,000.
It seems that French politicians have a lot to learn about sexual harassment themselves, though. An open letter published in the French newspaper “Libération” and signed by scores of women journalists who cover politics claims they are subjected to politicians’ sexism every day in the form of inappropriate and condescending remarks.
In the letter, the journalists explain why they felt compelled to write the letter (in which they do not name any official): “The fact that these practices … involve elected officials charged with creating policy leads us to denounce them,” they wrote.
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