France street harassment: Strasbourg woman attacked ‘for wearing skirt’

A woman in a dress walks past an empty restaurant in Strasbourg, eastern France, in June 2020

image copyrightAFP

image captionThe woman (not pictured) said she was attacked on a street in Strasbourg for wearing a skirt

French police have opened an investigation after a woman in Strasbourg said she was attacked in broad daylight for wearing a skirt.

The student, identified only as Elisabeth, 22, said she was punched in the face “by three individuals who complained about me wearing a skirt”.

The government has denounced the “very serious” incident as unacceptable.

About 1,800 fines have been handed out

since a law against street harassment was passed in 2018.

In an interview with France Bleu Alsace radio, Elisabeth said she was walking home when one of the three men said: “Look at that whore in a skirt.”

Two of the three men then held her while the third hit her in the face, leaving her with a black eye, she told the station. The men then fled.

She said more than a dozen people witnessed the incident, but no-one intervened.

On Wednesday, junior interior minister Marlene Schiappa – who is in charge of citizenship and was previously in charge of equality issues – visited the eastern city to discuss the safety of women in public.

She told France Bleu Alsace that “the skirt is not responsible for the attack and the woman even less”.

“A woman is never hit because she wears a skirt. A woman is hit because there are people who are misogynistic, sexist, violent, and who free themselves from any law and any rule of civility by striking them.

“When you’re a student and you have to think about the outfit you have to wear and the message it sends, it’s an overwhelming mental load,” Ms Schiappa said.

She also urged people to call the police if they witnessed any kind of street harassment incidents against women in a public space.

On Thursday, France Bleu Alsace reported that two women had been attacked in another eastern city, Mulhouse, on Wednesday, after a man told one of them her skirt was “too short”.

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media captionWomen discuss street harassment in France

Related Topics

  • Violence against women

  • Sexual harassment
  • France