Consider this fair warning. What you’re about to see is… Well, there are no actual words that I can think of to describe this.
Yesterday, in Paris, in 2018, in broad daylight, Marie Laguerre was walking along, minding her own business. A man, walking past her, decided to catcall her. Catcalling, as we know, is harassment, plain and simple. It is unacceptable.
Incredibly, some men still find it hard to believe why this is the case. They think it’s harmless fun. A compliment. ‘Why don’t those silly, defensive women just take the compliment?!’ Ignoring for a moment the fact that every human being should have the right to walk trhough a public space without being subject to un-asked-for sexual attention, there is also a scarier side. Because behind every catcall there is an implied threat of violence, a sometimes barely concealed undercurrent of danger. Yes, the majority of catcalls may never end in anything but words, but how is the recipient meant to know that? There is simply no easy way to tell. And women have to spend their whole lives learning and adapting to this—how to deflect unwanted attention in an innocuous enough way so as to not provoke this potential violence to the surface.
And here’s the thing. Right now there is a man reading that and thinking that is hyperbole. ‘Implied violence? Come on, gimme a break.’
Well you sit the fuck down, motherfucker, and you watch this without blinking, because what you’re about to see demonstrates exactly why catcalling is basically emotional terrorism. As we said, Marie Laguerre was walking along when she was catcalled by a man—he made ‘dirty noises, comments and whistled’, according to Marie. So she told him to shut up. ‘Ta guele!’ And the man stopped, turned around, and walked back to her, and he punched Marie in the face, knocking her against a glass barrier.
Parce que j'ai répondu à son harcèlement, un homme m'a frappée en pleine rue, en pleine journée, devant des dizaines de témoins. Inadmissible. Stop au harcèlement de rue. #noustoutes #metoo #balancetonporc #harcelementderue @MarleneSchiappa https://t.co/lV9AIKndlX— Marie Laguerre (@may_lgr) July 28, 2018
(English translation: ‘Because I responded to his harassment, a man hit me in the middle of the street, in the middle of the day, in front of dozens of witnesses. Unacceptable. Stop street harassment.’)
The news has spread through France and social media like wildfire, rightfully, with the Mayor of Paris expressing her support:
Before the man, who has yet to be identified, landed the punch on Marie he also apparently threw an ashtray at her, which only narrowly missed.
According to The Guardian:
The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened an inquiry into the incident, but so far the attacker has not been identified.
Other French politicians rallied in support of Laguerre. Marlène Schiappa, the French equalities minister, wrote on Twitter: “It is not acceptable that in France, in 2018, women are hit in the street because they refuse to be insulted when they walk. It is a fundamental issue of liberty.”
Schiappa, who succeeded in getting the Assemblée Nationale to pass legislation in May introducing fines for sexual harassment on the street and public transport, also commended Laguerre, calling her “courageous”.
Alexandra Cordebard, mayor of Paris’ 10th arrondissement, wrote “All my support to Marie Laguerre … Unfortunately what she has experienced is far too common, it is revolting.”
There are no words. This human shitstain is lucky that every person in that cafe didn’t immediately rise up, grab him, pin him to the ground, and forcibly castrate him. Here’s hoping that he is identified within the next few hours.