Complaints of sexual assault surge in France post-Weinstein scandal

Reporting of sexual assault and rape in France has risen by nearly a third since the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the interior ministry said Thursday.

Complaints of sexual assault surge in France post-Weinstein scandal
A women holds a placards reading "We will not be silent anymore". Photo: AFP
The number of complaints for sexual assault and rape received by police rose 31.5 percent in the last quarter of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016, the ministry said.
The number of rapes reported in the whole of 2017 was up 12 percent while the number of reported cases of sexual assault was up 10 percent, a report on 2017 crime statistics showed.
The ministry said the increase was likely due to people coming forward about past incidents of abuse in the wake of the scandal that toppled powerful Hollywood producer Weinstein in October.
“One can see the effect of reporting of possibly older incidents in the context of women speaking out following the revelations of the 'Weinstein' affair,” it said.
The allegations engulfing Weinstein triggered a deluge of accounts of sexual assault and harassment in France, with victims using the #Metoo or #balancetonporc (Squeal on your pig) hashtags to break their silence.
The movement was hailed for shining a light on a culture of permissiveness towards unwanted advances.
But it has also been divisive, with some women, including film star Catherine Deneuve, complaining it had turned into an anti-male “witch hunt”.


Men in France could face €90 fines for making sexist comments in the street

Photo: Jean Francois Gornet/Flickr


Strike calls in France on International Women’s Day

Men and women are being called on to finish work at 3.40pm on Monday to highlight the gender pay gap, one of many actions and demonstrations taking place around France to mark International Women's Day.

Strike calls in France on International Women's Day
Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

Several organisations and unions are calling for a strike to denounce pay inequality.

“On March the 8th, we will be on strike along with women all over the world to refuse to pay the price of the crisis with our jobs, our salaries, our bodies,” several unions including the CGT, FSU and Solidaires said in a press conference.

The objective is to denounce the gender pay gap that continues to impair women’s rights, but also to denounce the unfair burden that the past year’s health crisis has put on women.

“The lockdowns have been very heavy burdens on women for the past year, whether it’s in the health, work or home environments, increase in domestic violence. Not to mention the large amount of predominantly female jobs that have continued to maintained a level of normality during the lockdown,” the co-secretary general of FSU, Murielle Guilbert, told Les Echos.

The below map shows the actions planned around the country on Monday.

In Paris, a demonstration will start in Port-Royal at 1pm and move towards the Place de la République.

Organisations including Osez le féminisme, Les Effrontées and Unef have called women as well as men to go on strike on Monday from 3:40pm, in order to denounce the gender pay gap.

For a full list of actions around the country, click here.

French President Emmanuel Macron has been criticised by a junior minister for having only one woman among his closest advisers.

“I told him ‘Mr President, you are not giving a good example,” Elisabeth Moreno, a junior minister in charge of gender equality, told French media on Sunday.

She declined to say how the 43-year-old reacted, but she praised him for making gender equality a public priority and for ensuring balanced governments throughout his time in office.

Every cabinet since Macron came to power in 2017 has featured equal numbers of men and women, although both prime ministers have been male and the majority of the top cabinet jobs are currently held by men.

Macron has also been criticised for appointing Gérald Darmanin as his interior minister – the man nominally in charge of the country’s police force – while he is under investigation for rape.