A Woman Attacked for Wearing a Skirt in France
French police have opened an investigation after a young woman said she was attacked by three men and beaten in broad daylight for wearing a skirt.
The student, identified only as Elisabeth, 22, said she was punched in the face “by three individuals who complained about me wearing a skirt”.
She was walking home when one of the three exclaimed “look at that whore in a skirt”, Elisabeth told France Bleu Alsace radio.
Two of the three men then held her while the third hit her in the face, leaving her with a black eye, she told the station. The men then fled.
She said there were over a dozen witnesses but no one intervened or pursued the attackers.
A picture of Elisabeth’s bruised face was posted on the Twitter account of France Bleu Alsace and went viral, provoking fury among social media users.
France’s government reaction
The government has denounced the “very serious” incident as unacceptable.
On Wednesday, junior interior minister Marlene Schiappa – who is in charge of citizenship and was previously in charge of equality issues – visited the eastern city to discuss the safety of women in public.
She told France Bleu Alsace that “the skirt is not responsible for the attack and the woman even less”.
“A woman is never hit because she wears a skirt. A woman is hit because there are people who are misogynistic, sexist, violent, and who free themselves from any law and any rule of civility by striking them.
“When you’re a student and you have to think about the outfit you have to wear and the message it sends, it’s an overwhelming mental load,” Ms Schiappa said.
President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government has in recent weeks begun using increasingly tough rhetoric on domestic security issues in what analysts see as a shift to the right.
Ministers have particularly lashed out at Islamist extremism, arguing such values have no place in French society.