France has passed a new law to combat lewd behavior, resulting in on-the-stop fines of up to €750 for men who wolf-whistle, cat-call, or make sexual comments at women. France’s President, Emmanuel Macron, has said the law was created to ensure “women are not afraid to be outside.”
France’s minister for gender equality, Marlene Schiappa, previously spoke about the difficulty of drawing a line between flirtation and harassment, 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 that under 15s who have sex with adults over 18 years olds are presumed not to give consent.
The French parliament instead included a clause that classifies minors under 15 years of age 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 classed as sexual assault, the maximum jail sentence is 10 years, however, this is doubled to 20 years if it’s classified as rape.