'Many legal tools are available': Fighting sexual harassment in France today

© François Guillot, AFP

On November 2, 1992, the French Parliament unanimously approved legislation criminalising sexual harassment for the first time. This law – which applies to the workplace, public spaces and even online – is constantly evolving to better identify situations and protect victims.

For several days now, French female streamers have been expressing frustration at the online sexual harassment they have endured for years in the form of obscene photos, threats and insults. Videographer Maghla, who is known for her video game lives on Twitch, posted a long series of tweets in which she described, using photos and screenshots, the pornographic photomontages that have been made of her.

Sexual harassment in France, whether it takes place online, in public spaces or at work, is a criminal offense that is punishable by up to three years in prison and a €45,000 fine. The exact definition of sexual harassment has been enshrined in French law since November 2, 1992 but it has been constantly evolving over the last 30 years to remove legal uncertainties.

Hierarchical relationships

"The activists of the European Association against Violence against Women at Work (AVFT) put sexual harassment on the political agenda in the 1980s and 1990s. They helped victims lodge their first complaints," says Françoise Picq, a feminist historian and vice president of the National Association of Feminist Studies (Anef).

But how can sexual harassment outside of work be prevented?

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

Read also:
#MeTooMédias: French journalists denounce sexual harassment and rape in the media industry
#MeToo in music: Female artists and DJs campaign against sexual harassment
Sexual harassment in Lebanon: A crime that goes unnoticed