A shocking video of a young French woman being slapped for confronting a man who sexually harassed her in the street has gone viral, prompting fresh conversations about sexual harassment in France and the rest of the world.
The CCTV footage, filmed last Tuesday, shows 22-year-old student Marie Laguerre being hit around the face outside a café on Rue Burnouf in northeast Paris after she objected to his whistling, degrading comments and "noises with sexual connotations".
Laguerre, wearing red in the the clip (below), shared the video herself on Facebook to raise awareness of the issue. "I can't keep quiet and we mustn't stay silent," she wrote in an accompanying post.
Laguerre responded to the man's lewd noises and comments by saying, "Ta gueule!" (or "Shut up" in English), and admitted in an interview with French newspaper Le Parisien that she "didn't think he had heard [her]," reported The Local.
After the verbal exchange, they can both be seen going their separate ways when the man picked up an ashtray from a nearby café and threw it at Laguerre, narrowly missing her, she explained. "I felt hatred, I refused to be demeaned, it was humiliating," she said. "I refused to look down, I looked him right in the eyes, I was not going to apologise."
Then came the shocking blow, which caused her to lose her footing and has left her with a swollen face, headaches, neck pain and no longer feeling comfortable in her own neighbourhood, La Villette.
Laguerre went home immediately afterwards but went back to the café soon after to acquire the video and gather witness statements to present to the police. The clip, posted on her personal YouTube channel, has racked up more than 330k views since being uploaded on Saturday 28th July.
Prosecutors in Paris have since opened an inquiry into sexual harassment and armed violence, but the man in the clip has not yet been found, reported the BBC.
The incident has triggered renewed calls for on-the-spot fines for street harassment in France as part of legislation designed to combat sexual violence. The aim of the fines, of between €90 (£80) and €750 (£669) for repeat offenders, is to ensure "women are not afraid to be outside," President Emmanuel Macron has said.
France's Equalities Minister Marlène Schiappa has voiced her support for Laguerre and said the first fines should start being handed out this autumn. "The political response must be strong," she said.