Men living in France will face fines for wolf-whistling and catcalling come 2018, says the government.
A new law which will come into effect next year will fine men on the spot for verbally harassing women in the street. It’s part of a new initiative to tackle sexism in the country.
“It’s completely necessary because at the moment street harassment is not defined in the law,” gender equality minister Marlene Schiappa told RTL radio.
French president Emmanuel Macron added that he wants to tackle sexist male attitudes in public spaces and will hire more community police in order to enforce the law.
The law comes after thousands of women took to Twitter over the weekend to talk about their experiences of sexual harassment. 86,000 people tweeted using the hashtag #balancetonporc (which means ‘squeal on your pig’), leading it to be the number one trending hashtag in France as well as the third worldwide.
Of course, the law has had its dismissers. Police unions and lawyers have said that it will be almost impossible to enforce as it’s hard to tell the difference between harassment and flirting.
“We know very well at what point we start feeling intimidated, unsafe or harassed in the street,” Schiappa hit back.
Examples of breaking this particular law will include when a man invades a woman’s personal space, follows her for several streets or asks for her number repeatedly.
It’s unclear how much the on-the-spot fine will be but Schiappa said the amount shouldn’t be too high so that offenders can pay up immediately.
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