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.*
Published: 17 January 2019 10:53 CET
*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 sexistinsults 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.
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.”
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.”
It showed him picking up an ashtray and hurling it at her and then hitting her across the face.
In her Facebook account of the attack Laguerre said he used “dirty language, in a humiliating and provocative manner” when she passed him in the street and that she told him to “shut up and kept walking away”.
On Thursday, the court ordered the accused to pay 2,000 euros in damages to Laguerre, forbade him from making contact with her and also ordered him to
attend classes on sexist violence and violence among couples.
It also ruled that if he reoffends within the next three years he will have to serve another six months in prison.
The defendant, who has already served prison time for pimping and violence against his mother, admitted to the physical attack but denied making lewd remarks.
“There's not a man who has not spoken to a woman on the street,” he defended, claiming he merely complimented Laguerre on her red dress and accusing the judge of “nitpicking”.
Reacting to the ruling Laguerre hailed it as “balanced” and said she was particularly glad her attacker had been ordered to attend an anti-sexism course.
The attack made headlines around the world, triggering an outpouring of solidarity with Laguerre.