Wolf whistling could become illegal in France

Fiona Simpson
French President Emmanuel Macron called for an end to the harassment of women during his election campaign: af

Men in France could soon be prosecuted for wolf whistling and catcalling women in the street.

Marlene Schiappa, under-secretary for gender equality, has called for new legislation to be brought in to ban harassing women in a public place.

Wolf whistling and repeatedly asking for a woman’s phone number could see men prosecuted if the new law is passed.

A group of five MPs have been tasked with legally defining so-called street harassment and deciding on suitable punishments.

The crackdown comes after the results of a national survey showed almost all French women asked had been harassed on public transport or in the street.

Ms Schiappa said in a recent interview that there was gap in France between “consensual seduction, which is legal, and sexual assault, which is an offence”, the Times reported.

Describing behaviour likely to be banned under the law, she said: “You are a woman in an underground train. I am a man. I follow you. You get off the train. I get off. You get on another train. I get on too. I ask you for your telephone number. I ask again. I ask a third time. You feel oppressed. That is street harassment.”

French President Emmanuel Macron called for an end to the harassment of women during his election campaign.

Countries including Belgium and Portugal have already banned the behaviour.

The calls for a change in law sparked backlash among some lawyers who claimed MPs were trying to outlaw “heavy Latin chat-up lines”.

Others said men should only be prosecuted when police officers witness an offence.

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