A young Frenchwoman who was punched by a stranger outside a cafe in Paris after confronting him for cat-calling, has revealed the man made ‘sexually con-notated sounds and animal noises’ at her.
Marie Laguerre, 22, was on her way home from work in Paris last Tuesday when a man she had never seen before began harassing her in the street, and went on to Punch her ‘hard’ in the face when she shut him off.
In an interview with Sky News, Ms Laguerre said one of the reasons she ended up calling the man out was because ‘he was not the first person of the day, the week or the month’ to harass her in the street.
‘The man made sexual noises, showing his tongue, whistling and making animal sounds.’
Ms Laguerre told the man to ‘shut up’, the man then grabbed an ashtray from a café table and threw it at an increasingly irritated Ms Laguerre, who shouted at him.
She confronted him about his behaviour, at which point he punched her. ‘He hit me, and he hit hard,’ she told Sky News.
In a separate interview with a local newspaper yesterday Ms Laguerre said she was so shocked it took a few seconds before she realised she had been punched.
One of the most disturbing aspects of the video, which has gone viral in France, is that people sitting in the café do very little except for stand up and look shocked.
Some men, including one who looks like a waiter, grab chairs but nothing is done to keep the assailant away from her .
‘The attacker was dangerous. After the attack, I came back and the witnesses were very supportive,.
The attack, which took in the northern 19th arrondissement, close to the Buttes-Chaumont Park, at around 6.45pm last Tuesday, has triggered a national debate about the way women are treated on the streets of France.
‘The problem is the systematic insecurity that women suffer as a result of men. Some men think that the street belongs to them and that we have no business being there.’
Ms Laguerre wrote on her Facebook page: ‘This is not the only incident. Harassment is everyday.
To those men who think anything goes in the street, who allow themselves to humiliate us and who can not stand being offended, it is unacceptable.
It is time for this kind of behavior to STOP. #AllWomenTogether.’
Prosecutors have launched an inquiry into violence and sexual harassment, as police try and find the attacker.
French Equalities Minister Marlene Schiappa added her voice to those supporting Marie, saying she was ‘outraged but unfortunately not surprised’ by what had happened.
Pointing to new legislation that will see sexist men fined, Ms Schiappa said: ‘The political response must be strong.’