A man has been caught on video forcefully slapping a woman after he allegedly sexually harassed her on the streets of Paris.
The man is seen walking by a streetside cafe when he picks up an ashtray from a table and throws it over customers’ heads in the woman’s direction. He then comes face to face with her, waving his hands, before striking a blow and turning around to walk away.
The woman, Marie Laguerre, posted CCTV footage of the incident on her Facebook account, saying that she was on her way home on Tuesday last week when the man started whistling and making noises at her, and said “dirty words that were humiliating and provocative as I passed by him.”
“Bad luck, he was not the first one that day and I was tired. So I said ‘shut up’ as I walked away,” she wrote. “Because I do not tolerate this kind of behavior. I cannot shut up and we must not shut up.”
She described how the man threw the ashtray at her and started following her.
“He hit me in the street, in the middle of the day, in front of dozens of witnesses. I filed a complaint.”
The Paris prosecutor has opened an investigation into the incident, although the man has not yet been identified.
Witnesses at the cafe got up to confront the man and were seen on the video arguing with him before he walked away.
“He is not the only one. Harassment is every day. These men who think everything’s allowed in the street, who humiliate us and who cannot stand being offended, it’s unacceptable. It is time for this kind of behavior to end,” Laguerre wrote.
France’s Gender Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa said the violence in the video had “shocked” people.
“I would like to salute the courage of this young woman, Marie, who has positioned herself as a whistle-blower and this allows people who were skeptical on sexual harassment to see what it really looks like,” Schiappa told French radio RTL on Monday.
The French Senate recently passed a bill aimed at tackling sexual violence in the country, though it is yet to be formally signed into law. Harassment in public, including catcalling, whistling or demanding someone’s phone number, could warrant a fine of up to 750 euros ($876), the bill states.