France has recently passed a law to combat lewd behavior, resulting in on-the-stop fines of up to €750 for men who cat-call, wolf-whistle or make sexual comments at women. Emmanuel Macron, France’s President, has said the law was created to ensure “women are not afraid to be outside.”
France’s minister for gender equality, Marlene Schiappa, previously commented on the difficulty of drawing a line between harassment and flirtation, saying “We know very well at what point we start feeling intimidated, unsafe or harassed in the street.” This comes after Schiappa previously called for a change in consent laws, making it so persons under 15 years old who have sex with adults over 18 years old are presumed not to give consent.
The French parliament instead added a clause that says minors under 15 can be classified as lacking the ability to give consent, so any intercourse between someone younger than 15 and someone older than 18 could be classed as rape. If it is classed as sexual assault, the maximum prison sentence is 10 years, however this is doubled to 20 years if it’s classified as rape.
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