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."
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.
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.
However, many people felt he didn't not get a harsh enough sentence.
Some people demanded the perp be named:
However, many pointed out that in the US, this man would even get six months:
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.