Patrick Knox reports for the UK’s The Sun, Sept. 20, 2017, that fulfilling a pledge Emmanuel Macron had made during his presidential election campaign last year, the government of France is declaring war on men “harassing” women in public.
Under new plans, wolf-whistling will be a criminal offense in France, as will asking women for their telephone numbers and following them. The crackdown comes after surveys show virtually all French women said they have been “harassed” on public transport, in the street or elsewhere at some time in their lives.
Marlène Schiappa, 34, France’s under-secretary for gender equality, defended the plan and gave an example of behavior that would be illegal. She said:
“You are a woman in an underground train. I am a man. I follow you. You get off the train. I get off. You get on another train. I get on too. I ask you for your telephone number. I ask again. I ask a third time. You feel oppressed. That is street harassment.”
Attorney Gilles-William Goldnadel accuses Schiappa of seeking to outlaw “heavy Latin chat-up lines”. He said the only consequences of the law would be to enrich feminist lawyers and to clog up the court system.
Some choice comments from readers of The Sun:
chris perrien: “Only will apply to native white Frenchmen, as to apply such to anyone else would be racist and the French government will have none of that.”
Mike Irish: “Ah France, I wonder if most of your women are also happy with flooding your country with men who do not think of women as humans?”
KJ: “And women wonder why sexbots will replace them”
JD: “Yeah, because women being asked for their phone numbers is the BIGGEST social problem in France right now. Talk about ‘arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.'”
Steven Jacks: “It’s becoming illegal to reject the advances of a Transsexual and now illegal to ask for the phone number of a real woman, it’s almost as if they don’t want us Europeans to breed at all…”
It turns out that other EU countries, including Belgium and Portugal, had already banned wolf-whistling and other “sexist” “harassing” behavior.
In March 2012, the UK Mirror reported that “wolf-whistling is now set to become a criminal offence” under new EU rules drawn up by the Council of Europe’s convention on violence against women.
The convention’s legislation criminalizes or imposes other sanctions for “unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment”. The legislation also outlaws “psychological violence,” compensates victims of domestic abuse, and punishes someone for forcing abortions or sterilization.
The EU rules have the support of at least 18 countries, including Germany and the UK.
On March 8, 2012, at a special event to mark International Women’s Day, UK Prime Minister David Cameron declared the UK would sign up to the European convention. He said:
“The agreement is not just a piece of paper. It’s going to lift the standards of protection for women across Europe, give greater support for victims and – crucially – bring many more perpetrators to justice.”
Julia Gray, who founded the London branch of US movement Hollaback! that is dedicated to getting rid of street harassment, told The Guardian:
“The way we see it is if you want to tackle it you tackle all of it – you say no to all forms of unwanted sexual harassment; that includes wolf-whistling, comments, everything.”
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