French police have launched an investigation after a young woman complained that she was attacked and beaten by three men in broad daylight for wearing a skirt in public. The government has condemned the incident, calling it “very serious and unacceptable, BBC reported.
In an interview with France Bleu Alsace radio station, Elisabeth, a 22-year-old student, said she was walking home in the eastern city of Strasbourg when the three men approached her and one of them called out, “Look at that whore in a skirt.”
Two of the three men then grabbed her while the third punched her in the face, leaving her with a black eye, according to an AFP report. They then swiftly made their escape. There were dozens of people around, but no one stepped forward to intervene, Elisabeth recounted.
The French radio station shared a picture of the woman’s bruised face on Twitter, sparking outrage among hundreds of social media users.
“The facts as stated are very serious,” the French government’s spokesperson Gabriel Attal said. “In France we must be able to go out dressed in the street as we want. We cannot accept that today in France, a woman feels in danger, either harassed, threatened or beaten because of how she dresses.”
Earlier this week, Marlène Schiappaène, a junior interior minister who was previously in charge of equality issues, visited Strasbourg to discuss the issue of women’s safety in public places with local authorities, AFP reported.
“When we witness street harassment, sexist or sexual assault against women in a public space, we must react, and call the police or the gendarmerie,” Schiappaène said in an interview with France’s LCI television channel.
Over the last two years, the French government has been cracking down on the harassment of women in public places. Ever since a law against street harassment was passed in 2018, over 1,800 fines have been handed out, BBC reported.
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