France hands out first street harassment fine to Frenchman who slapped woman’s buttocks
A French court has fined a man for insulting a woman during an assault on a bus, the first conviction under a new law that punishes sexual harassment in public spaces, judicial sources said Tuesday.
Published: 26 September 2018 08:57 CEST
The prosecutor's office in the south Paris suburb of Evry said the incident occurred last Wednesday when the 30-year-old man, visibly drunk, boarded the bus and spotted a 21-year-old woman.
He slapped her on the buttocks, called her a “whore” and referred to the size of her breasts, comments which prompted the court on Friday to fine him 300 euros ($350) under the anti-harassment law passed last month.
He was also sentenced to three months in jail for physical abuse.
The woman managed to alert the driver who locked the bus's doors until the police arrived, enabling the offender's arrest.
French women have increasingly been speaking up about sexual assault and harassment in the wake of the MeToo movement.
“This is the first conviction for sexist insults in the country,” a justice ministry spokesperson confirmed to AFP.
The new law also allows for on-the-spot fines for behaviour including comments on a woman's looks or clothing, catcalling, intrusive questions, unwanted following and “upskirting” — taking pictures under a woman's dress without her knowing.
Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa, who steered the law through parliament, hailed the decision and the driver's quick thinking.
“Together we will end sexist and sexual violence,” she posted on Twitter.
Reported cases of sexual harassment and violence have surged this year, with nearly 28,000 complaints registered by police in the first seven months of 2018, up 23 percent from the period a year earlier, according to the interior ministry.
In one of the more shocking recent cases, a woman posted a video in July showing her being punched in broad daylight by a man outside a cafe after she angrily responded to harassing comments.
Pope Francis has broken with Catholic tradition to appoint a woman as an undersecretary of the synod of bishops, the first to hold the post with voting rights in a body that studies major questions of doctrine.
Published: 7 February 2021 11:03 CET
Pope Francis has appointed Nathalie Becquart as undersecretary of the synod of bishops. She is the first woman to hold the post. Photo: AFP
Frenchwoman Nathalie Becquart is one of the two new undersecretaries named on Saturday to the synod, where she has been a consultant since 2019.
The appointment signals the pontiff's desire “for a greater participation of women in the process of discernment and decision-making in the church”, said Cardinal Mario Grech, the secretary-general of the synod.
In major historic move, Pope Francis has appointed Sr Nathalie Becquart (@SrNatB) as undersecretary to the Synod of Bishops. As an undersecretary, Sr. Nathalie will enjoy the privilege of voting rights at the Synod of Bishops, making her the first woman to do such. pic.twitter.com/gnjYMZXfiZ