The Fight between Sexual harassment and seduction In France Now Hits Cultural Resistance
In 1905 women in France who were famous for painting the world-renowned Limoges Figurines and Vases went on strike. The reason behind the strike was that they were prey to the sexual urges of the factory overseer. The strike was in protest of a custom where feudal lords or bosses would compel women who worked for them to offer sexual services. The custom is said to be inherited from the middle ages. In France and America, a new kind of protest is underway. This happens in the wake of sexual abuse allegations made against Hollywood Producer Hervey Weinstein. The protesters were armed with hashtags like #BalanceTonPorc, #MeToo or #OutYourPig.
However, no one is certain that the current social media wave will be adequate to change the behaviors and attitudes in France that have resisted efforts by many generations. However, there may be light at the end of the tunnel. The trial that derailed the hopes of becoming president by Dominique Strauss-Khan made a threshold in France. The Trial on sexual assault has made the private lives of celebrities a fair game for the media. Just the number of French women going public with details of sexual assault charges make the individual behavior of men in power very clear. Legislation on sexual assault passed by the French parliament last year may have raised the hurdles for aggrieved women to prosecute sexual harassment perpetrators. Experts and lawyers have sharply criticized the changes that have recently been made in labor law. The law changes were ordered by the French President Emmanuel Macron. Lawyers argue that response has either been inadequate or non-existent at every level.
Some French women felt so aggrieved that they filed a petition to President Macron. The women urged Macron to treat the sexual offenses bill as a matter of national urgency. The petition, in the first three days, would get over 100,000 signatures online. However, there are still enormous legal and cultural obstacles that prevent women from talking about the harassment they experience in their places of work. A culture silence has been around such behaviors for centuries, and the process of breaking them has just begun. Since 1992, workplace sexual harassment was made an object of the legislation. The deeply rooted cultural ideas can be reflected by the government’s reluctance to act on the sexual offenses bill. There has also been issues regarding the relative power of women and men.
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