Catcallers in France now face on-the-spot fines of up to $870 under the law, which has been in the works for months.
Politicians in France have voted to approve a new law that imposes on-the-spot fines for sexual harassment in public places.
Catcallers on the streets and public transportation in France can now be fined up to 750 euros (around $870).
The law — which has been in the works for months — was passed days after a video of a young woman being attacked by a man who sexually harassed her outside a cafe went massively viral and outraged France.
Marie Laguerre was walking home from work in northeast Paris last month when she says a man started making obscene comments and noises at her.
When she told him to shut up, she said he threw an ashtray at her that only just missed, then approached her and physically assaulted her.
The entire incident was captured by the cafe’s CCTV and shared with Laguerre, who posted the video on social media this week. An investigation has been opened into the man in the CCTV footage, but he has not been identified.
“Last night, as I was coming back home in Paris, I walked past a man who sexually/verbally harassed me,” Laguerre wrote online.
“He wasn’t the first one and I can’t accept being humiliated like that, so I replied ‘shut up.’ He then threw an ashtray at me, before rushing back to punch me, in the middle of the street, in front of dozens of people.
“This is an unacceptable behaviour. It happens everyday, everywhere and I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t have a similar story.
“I am sick of feeling unsafe walking in the street.
“Things need to change, and they need to change now.”
The video has been watched millions of times online and caused an uproar in France, with many politicians expressing solidarity with Laguerre.
Laguerre has been widely praised in the aftermath of the incident for her attitude in calling out sexual harassment and for holding her attacker accountable, and she has also set up a new website for others to anonymously tell their stories.
Among the French politicians sharing Laguerre’s video was equalities minister Marlène Schiappa, who is also the architect of the new anti–sexual harassment law.
“Harassment in the street has previously not been punished. From now on, it will be,” Schiappa told Europe 1 radio, according to a translation by Reuters.
The new law under which fines will be imposed for catcalling also extends the statute of limitations for sex crimes and expands the criminal definition of child rape.
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