Viral video of Paris woman assaulted after confronting sexual harassment triggers investigation | News | DW | 30.07.2018
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Viral video of Paris woman assaulted after confronting sexual harassment triggers investigation

A young woman has taken a stand after being physically attacked in Paris. A video shows a man punching her in front of a crowded street-side cafe.

French prosecutors are investigating after a video went viral, showing a young woman being assaulted for confronting a man she accuses of sexual harassment, local media reported on Monday.

Security camera footage shows 22-year-old student Marie Laguerre walking outside a Paris cafe in broad daylight. In a Facebook post, she said a man made lewd comments towards her — "not the first time it had happened to me that day."

Read more: Spain's Pamplona launches app to stop sexual assaults at bull-running festival

She said she told him to "shut up" before walking away. Footage provided by a cafe then shows the man grabbing an ashtray from the crowded cafe patio and throwing it at her. He then doubles back towards her. When Laguerre confronts him he strikes her across the face.

Laguerre filed a complaint with police and later shared the video on social media, writing: "Because I responded to his harassment, a man hit me in the street, in the middle of the day, in front of dozens of witnesses. Unacceptable. Stop street harassment."

The video was widely shared and it was picked up the Le Parisien newspaper on Monday with the front-page headline "Filmed proof."

"What's at stake is serious: It's the freedom of women to move about in freedom in public," France's equality minister, Marlene Schiappa, told the paper.

She said the government was hoping to push through a law later this year to punish sexual harassment in public spaces with on-the-spot fines, part of President Emmanuel Macron's pledge to combat sexism.

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