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SEXISM

Woman hit on Paris street launches website to help others tell their stories

A young woman who posted a shocking video of a man punching her outside a Paris cafe launched a website on Wednesday which allows victims of harassment to tell their stories.

Woman hit on Paris street launches website to help others tell their stories
Marie Laguerre. Photo: AFP
The site “Nous Toutes Harcelement” (We are all harassed) aims to collect accounts of incidents “in the street,  at work, in the private sphere” Marie Laguerre, 22, told AFP.
   
“It's anonymous, and that will allow these women to talk freely,” she added.
   
Laguerre, a student, wrote on Facebook last week that she was returning home when a man started making lewd comments. She told him to “shut up” and kept walking away, while the man went in the opposite direction.
 
In a surveillance video provided by the cafe, the man is then seen grabbing an ashtray from a table on the cafe's patio and throwing it at her. 
   
He then returns and strikes Laguerre across the face (see below).
 
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She filed a complaint with police and later posted the video, writing that “we must no longer keep quiet”.
   
Since her video went up on Facebook, Laguerre has received messages from around the world from women sharing their own experiences as well as from men 
offering their support.
   
Laguerre has done the rounds of French and international media retelling her story but now wants to capitalise on her new high-profile “to deliver a message and improve things”.
   
Such harassment is a worldwide problem, she told AFP.
   
Laguerre contacted established women's groups for advice, said Fatima Benomar, spokeswoman for one such organisation “Les Effrontees”. 
   
“We considered things together and came up with the idea to create this site,” she added.
   
The messages from the online witnesses will also go up on Facebook.
 
Similar online projects already exist, but Laguerre said it was  “important” to her to start a new initiative to tackle the problem.
 
Paris prosecutors have opened an inquiry following the posting of the video of the assault on her, according to legal sources.

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SEXISM

More than one million French women targeted by sexist comments

More than one million French women, or one woman in 20, are targets of sexist comments in public, according to a new report on sexism. *French language learner article.*

More than one million French women targeted by sexist comments
Photo: jovannig/Depositphotos
*This is a French language learner article. The words in bold are translated into French at the bottom of the article.
 
The report highlights the kind of discrimination women go through on a daily basis, revealing that 1.2 million women experiencing sexist insults in 2017. 
 
The first investigation into sexism in France was carried out by the High Council for Equality between Women and Men (HCE) and the results were made public on Thursday.
 
The report focuses on sexists comments made in public, something which is now punishable with a €750 fine since France's new law on sexual violence was introduced in August 2018, but according to the council “currently enjoys a high social tolerance”. 
 
In fact during 2017, there were just four convictions for sexist insults, something which has been put down to the fact that victims do not believe it is worth reporting to the police, with only 3 percent pursuing an official complaint.
 
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Women in Paris tell their stories of being groped, pestered and sexually harassedPhoto: Jean Francois Gornet/Flickr

It won't come as a surprise to many women living in a major French city that one of the main places the insults occur is on public transport, particularly the Paris Metro.

“It's often in the Metro,” Chloe, a 19-year-old student in Paris told Le Parisien. “The last time was three weeks ago: I got a comment that my trousers molded my buttocks. I did not answer so he called me a little slut.”
 
In 2016 a report revealed that half of women in France choose to wear trousers not skirts when they take public transport to avoid being the victims of sexual harassment.
 
And while official complaints to the police are rare, French women do discuss the kind of insults they frequently hear in public spaces on social media.
 
According to the report, the most frequently reported insults were 'slut' (27 percent), 'whore' (21 percent) and 'bitch' (16 percent), with the first two most commonly directed at women under 30.
 
While it isn't only women who are subjected to abuse in public, they represent 92 percent of the victims of gender-specific insults and 86 percent of these comments are made by men, the report claims.
 
“Women are insulted because they are women,” said the HCE. “Their sex is the marker of their difference and justifies the insult. On the other hand, insults against men are not based on the idea that being a man is intrinsically negative.”
 
The body pointed out that insults heard by men often reflect the opposite.
 
“A man will never be too manly and the insults that are addressed to him focus on the fact that he is not manly enough.”
 
French vocab to learn
 
Discrimination — une discrimination
Insult — une insulte
Sexism — le sexisme
Fine — une amende
Conviction — une conviction
Complaint — une plainte
Public Spaces —  un espace public
Social media — les réseaux sociaux
 
 
 
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