On Wednesday, July 25, Marie Laguerre posted footage online of a man assaulting her and revived the conversation about everyday sexism. Sexual violence against women in France are increasingly concerning, report American news outlets.
On YouTube, the assault of Marie Laguerre has already been seen by more than 4 million viewers. “Clearly, it’s struck a chord with the many people who have experienced street harassment or abuse [in France],” observed Quartz. The magazine reported the results of a recent survey which found that eight out of ten French women had experienced at least one form of sexual assault or street/public transportation harassment. According to the same survey, “41% of French women have suffered from forced sexual contact in a public place.”
The Secretary of State in charge of Equality between Women and Men, Marlène Schiappa came to the defense of the young woman. “The situation is serious,” she wrote on Twitter. “It is about the freedom of women to move freely in the public space. This is why it’s a priority.”
Schiappa’s law, which aims to change the way the country punishes different forms of violence against women and gender inequality, will be coming into effect in the Fall. Starting in September, Schiappa told Le Parisien newspaper in an interview, “it will be established that bothering, following, and threatening a woman […] is forbidden.”