An explosive video shared by a French architecture student shows a man walking up to her outside a Paris cafe and slapping her hard across the face. Marie Laguerre, 22, told French media that the man had been bombarding her with sexually harassing taunts, and he struck her after she told him to shut up.
The unidentified assailant was captured on a CCTV surveillance video. Laguerre’s head can be seen snapping to the side as she is struck, and stunned diners jump to their feet.
Prosecutors have launched an investigation, but as of Monday the man had not been found, HuffPost France reported.
The astonishing confrontation has triggered angry calls to crack down on street harassers. Legislation was introduced earlier this year allowing on-the-spot fines for such behavior. It’s expected to pass next week, The Guardian reported.
The attack occurred as Laguerre was walking home last week and a stranger began to make obscene comments, noises and gestures with “sexual connotations,” she told Franceinfo TV Sunday.
She told Le Parisien that she got angry and said, “Shut up.” “I didn’t think he’d hear, but he did,” she added.
The man can be seen on the video at that point angrily striding after Laguerre. She said he was “enraged” as he flung an ashtray at her, which just missed her head. Then he screamed at her before striking her, Laguerre recounted.
Laguerre, who suffered bruising to her cheek and brow, returned home but soon came back to the cafe to collect witness statements and the video from the cafe owner.
Laguerre said that, since the disturbing confrontation, she has been “on edge” walking outside. But she’s glad she came forward.
“I can’t keep quiet, and we mustn’t stay silent,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “Hoping it’ll make things [change] for all women who suffer from harassment and sexist violence on a daily basis.”