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Strasbourg, France. Photo: David Levêque

French student assaulted because she was wearing a miniskirt

The reason for the attack on a Strasbourg student last week, was her attire. The victim told a French broadcaster that she met three "men" in the city center.

Published: September 25, 2020, 9:34 am


    One of them said to the other two: “Look at this whore in the skirt.” When she reacted indignantly, one of the men replied: “Shut up, bitch and look down.” Then she was held and punched in the face. Then the Muslim perpetrators fled.

    Around 15 witnesses observed the incident but offered no help during nor after the crime. They pretended not to notice the assault, the victim said. The attackers are still at large.

    She told the radio station France Bleu that she grew up in the city and had “never felt such an unhealthy climate for women”. However, this kind of sexual intrusiveness on the street has become an almost everyday nuisance.

    Strasbourg mayor Jeanne Barseghian contradicted the victim. Harassment does not occur above average in the city, she claimed. Barseghian however admitted that the number of unreported cases could be much higher: In the past two years, around 1 800 official warnings for sexual harassment have been issued across France.

    Due to its geographical position and its status as European capital, Strasbourg is particularly attractive and the flow of migrants is permanent and on the rise, with more than 11 percent in 2019 compared to the previous year. Asylum requests in Strasbourg have meanwhile doubled in four years. From 1 800 applicants in the Strasbourg prefecture in 2014, to 3 000 in 2016 and 4 000 in 2018.

    Government spokesman Gabriel Attal described the act as “completely unacceptable”, according to the dpa news agency. In France everyone should be able to take to the streets as they please without fear of being “insulted, threatened or beaten”.

    The Minister Associate in the French Ministry of the Interior, Marlène Schiappa, has announced that Strasbourg police officers would in future be better trained in handling cases of harassment. By next year, a social worker will be appointed to improve the dialogue between victims of sexual violence and officials, Schiappa told France Bleu. She said nothing about the origin of the attacks.

    Two other young women were assaulted on Wednesday September 23 in Mulhouse for the same reason – simply because they wore skirts deemed “too short” by their attacker.

    The assault took place in broad daylight when 20-year-old female friends were assaulted by an 18-year-old Muslim who had deemed their skirts “too short”.

    According to France Bleu, the first victim was violently slapped before being pinned to the ground by her attacker on the tram platform. The second then tried to intervene to protect her friend. She was immediately pushed back by the individual who allegedly grabbed her by the throat, injuring her knee. She had to receive medical treatment.

    Fortunately in this case, witnesses alerted the police. They were on site less than 15 minutes after the assault.

    This is the second such assault in less than a week. On Friday, September 18, a group of “men” beat and insulted a student for the exact same reason: she was wearing a skirt.

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