Users of the French capital's transport network will see a series of demonstrations and posters over the coming weeks, calling for action to tackle the endemic sexual harassment on the system.
A group of French feminists have also launched the hashtag #balancetonmetro – encouraging women to share their experiences of unwanted sexual experiences on the Metro, modelled on the #balancetonporc campaign, the French equivalent of #metoo.
Just 24 hours after the launch, the hashtag had also been widely shared, with hundreds of women telling their stories of being groped, threatened or even attacked on the city's transport network.
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Sexual harassment in public spaces is a long-running issue in France. Photo: AFP
The movement was started by feminist activist Anais Leleux, who is taking civil legal action against transport operator RATP, claiming it has not done enough to counter sexual harassment.
— Anaïs Leleux (@AnaisLeleux) 24 April 2019
RATP said it intended to defend the lawsuit, telling FranceInfo: “We can't say we're not doing anything. RATP is strongly committed to providing ideal conditions for good travel.
“We have more than 50,000 functional cameras, 5,300 agents in stations, 1,000 security agents on the network. And all these agents are trained in the care of victims of sexual harassment as part of a module organised by Miprof (a government mission for the protection of women victims of violence and the fight against people trafficking).”
The RATP spokesman cited previous initiatives to combat sexual harassment, including an awareness campaign launched in 2015, and another joint communication campaign between the greater Paris Ile-de-France region, RATP and SNCF, the implementation of recent alert systems (by calling 3117, by SMS 31177).
Anais and her fellow activists could be seen on the Metro on Wednesday urging fellow commuters to report their experiences, before staging a protest outside RATP headquarters.
They have also put together a poster campaign changing the name of well-known stations such as 'Pervers Lacahaise' (Pere Lachais) and Porc Royal (Port-Royal).
The poster also includes the figure, from a previous study by the High Council for Equality between Women and Men, that 100 percent of women have been harassed on public transport.
The problem of harassment, unwanted attention, groping and threats on the Paris Metro is a long-standing one.
Readers of The Local have previously told of their experiences of unwanted sexual attention on public transport.
One reader said: “I think the biggest problems are on the Metro. It always happens that when the train gets busy, men will seize the moment to touch you.