France hands out €300 fine for street harassment

By Hajer M'tiri

PARIS (AA) – A Frenchman on Tuesday was fined €300 ($353) for misogyny in assaulting a woman on a bus, a first conviction under a new French law against sexual harassment in public spaces.

The man, 31, slapped a 21-year-old woman's bottom on a bus near Paris last Wednesday, and made offensive remarks about her appearance, according to French daily Le Figaro.

The fine is the first imposed under the legislation, passed in August, aiming at deterring street harassment and catcalling. The law allows police to hand out on-the-spot fines of up to €750 ($883).

The court in Evry, some 25.0 kilometers (15.5 miles) south of the center of Paris, also sentenced the man to nine months in prison, including six with a suspended sentence, for the charges of sexual assault and violent aggression against the bus driver.

The French gender equality minister, Marlene Schiappa, was behind the legislation. She hailed the court decision in a tweet, saying: "Well done to the bus driver for his quick reaction, and for the penalty imposed."