France Bans Street Harassment, Approving Hefty Fines For Catcallers

French lawmakers have approved a measure outlawing sexual harassment in the street, rendering catcalling and lewd or degrading comments a crime punishable by on-the-spot fines of up to 750 euros — or more than $870. The country’s Senate passed the legislation late Wednesday as part of a broader package of measures targeting sexual violence, which the lower house of Parliament advanced earlier this year.

Also included in the legislation are provisions to more broadly protect minors under the age of 15, making it easier for alleged underage rape victims to prove a lack of consent and extending the deadline to file their complaints by a decade. Under the terms of the law, massive fines and potential prison time also await anyone found to have taken pictures of people under their clothing without their consent, a practice often known as “upskirting.”

The law, which takes effect next month, has been a centerpiece of a yearlong campaign supported by President Emmanuel Macron’s government — and boosted in recent days by a viral video that drew millions of views and waves of condemnation.


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