In July 2018, Marie Laguerre was on her way back to her apartment in Paris, France, when a random stranger began shouting at her. Tired after a long day of work, Laguerre told him to shut up. Furious, the man threw an ashtray at her before following Laugerre down the street and hitting her in the face, to the shock of a nearby restaurant's patrons. At the time, the assailant's identity was unknown, but he has now been found and sentenced for his crime.
Police managed to track down Laguerre's attacker and take him into custody. He has been sentenced to six months in prison for his actions.
A security video of the attack, which Laguerre posted to Facebook, quickly went viral, sparking a social movement in France comparable to #MeToo in the United States. In fact, French lawmakers felt compelled after #NousToutes ("We All") and #BalanceTonPorc ("Expose Your Pig") to instate new laws which impose "on-the-spot fines for cat-calling and street harassment."
@c_politi Chilling. I cannot understand why he is not named even though found guilty. #MarieLaguerre's name is everywhere— Mel (@Mel)1538678039.0
The attacker's name hasn't been released publicly, but Laguerre is glad justice found him. She wrote about her gratefulness to all who helped her in a Facebook post looking back on some of the most intense months of her life:
I am aware of the chance I had: to have had witnesses who reacted, that the bar kindly provided me with the video, the strong media that allowed important means set up by the police (which I thank for their work). Thank you all for your support, which gave me a lot of strength, courage and hope. We all, as citizens, have the opportunity to move things. I encourage each and every one to denounce the sexist behaviour that they can witness. For a more just, more equal society, more inclusive for all and all.
France's new laws are already making a difference! In September, a man was fined 300 euros "after sexually assaulting a woman on a bus near Paris."
People are beginning to see real consequences for their inappropriate actions.
A very good News ! 👍 https://t.co/XLNmTX9bmJ— Ludivine De Alba ⭐️⭐️ (@Ludivine De Alba ⭐️⭐️)1538682364.0
Laguerre spoke about the importance of such steps to CNN:
This video shocked a lot of people, because they could actually see what could actually happen to women when she says no. They can also see that it's not about seduction, it's about domination, and it's raising awareness that we need to listen to women, because they've been talking about this issue for years … We don't feel safe.
Online, people are glad justice is being served.
@cntrentF24 Sending you love and hugs Marie Laguerre. What a terrible ordeal you've endured, both the assault, the… https://t.co/beIHAMtPoc— Patrina Finch #FBPE (@Patrina Finch #FBPE)1538742784.0
@cntrentF24 Finally 🙏— Scarypan 🐰🌿 (@Scarypan 🐰🌿)1538743401.0
@cntrentF24 At least leaders in Paris get it!— Cdblin🌊 (@Cdblin🌊)1538740952.0
Huge respect to Marie Laguerre for getting a conviction against the low-life, deranged idiot who punched her becau… https://t.co/KW0oORbXot— Ian-s (@Ian-s)1538758629.0
Shout out to the dude with the white shirt that grabbed that chair like @MalaysiaPargo ! And shout out to Marie Lag… https://t.co/gnIPzOtFEg— paris illton. (@paris illton.)1538739996.0
After a man slapped #MarieLaguerre will spend 6 months in jail . Good news. #RespectWomen https://t.co/RH68Jne6HG— junior (@junior)1538725731.0
However, many people felt he didn't not get a harsh enough sentence.
@cntrentF24 Not enough time.— Deplorable MJNY (@Deplorable MJNY)1538755619.0
@cntrentF24 Embarrassing. Suspended? Clearly the law there doesn’t take his crimes seriously enough.— Vramy (@Vramy)1538732029.0
@cntrentF24 I hate this "suspended" sentence crap. Jail him for the full term! Abusive t***— CallumE (@CallumE)1538733373.0
@cntrentF24 Only 6 months ?? That is ridiculous 😣😣 how women can be safe on the streets if we had this mental perso… https://t.co/dZ9UonQYUa— Consuelo Recalde (@Consuelo Recalde)1538744014.0
Some people demanded the perp be named:
@cntrentF24 Where's his picture and what's his name? Why is the media protecting him?— Highly Favored 🌿🙏🏽 (@Highly Favored 🌿🙏🏽)1538739058.0
@cntrentF24 Name him and shame him!!— Tickle Budgie (@Tickle Budgie)1538740989.0
@cntrentF24 Do you know why he hasn’t been named? Genuinely curious as the victim’s name is everywhere, but not his?— Red (@Red)1538732984.0
@cntrentF24 Why has the mans name not been released? I’d wager this guy is from the religion of peace— Lenny Finegold (@Lenny Finegold)1538753450.0
@cntrentF24 He should be named and shamed— liz (@liz)1538734756.0
However, many pointed out that in the US, this man would even get six months:
@cntrentF24 In the US this would make him qualified for a federal judgeship appointment— V̲̲̅̅i̲̲̅̅r̲̲̅̅t̲̲̅̅u̲̲̅̅a̲̲̅̅l̲̲̅̅T̲̲̅̅a̲̲̅̅l̲̲̅̅ (@V̲̲̅̅i̲̲̅̅r̲̲̅̅t̲̲̅̅u̲̲̅̅a̲̲̅̅l̲̲̅̅T̲̲̅̅a̲̲̅̅l̲̲̅̅)1538744121.0
@cntrentF24 In America, he could become POTUS, or maybe even SCOTUS.— Maximum Power (@Maximum Power)1538736664.0
@cntrentF24 At least he got jail time. Sadly in the USA he would have been made famous.— Del Williams (@Del Williams)1538749588.0
@cntrentF24 Hey Alaska, you should take note instead of letting people who kidnap, strangle and sexually abuse by e… https://t.co/DCOJp3cxtW— Kyle Davis (@Kyle Davis)1538747420.0
@cntrentF24 The man who “allegedly” assaulted a woman in America will get a lifetime position on the Supreme Court… https://t.co/p2njuWMkRf— GTR1030 (@GTR1030)1538739487.0
So maybe the perpetrator did not get a long enough or harsh enough sentence, but it seems that, when it comes to justice, France may be a step ahead of certain place, including the US.
True equality and safety for women in France, and around the world, is still far from being achieved, but we seem to be moving ever so slowly in the right direction.