For the first time, the French Parliament overwhelmingly enacted legislation criminalizing sexual harassment on November 2, 1992. This law, which applies to the workplace, public settings, and even online, is continually evolving in order to identify better and protect victims.
For several days, French female streamers have been venting their rage over years of online sexual harassment in the form of indecent photographs, threats, and insults.
Maghla, a Twitch video game live streamer, wrote a lengthy series of tweets in which she recounted the pornographic photomontages that had been created of her using images and screenshots.
Sexual harassment is a criminal violation in France, whether it occurs online, in public places, or at work, and is punishable by up to three years in prison and a €45,000 fine.
Since November 2, 1992, the precise concept of sexual harassment has been codified in French law, but it has been constantly expanding over the following 30 years to remove legal difficulties.
Françoise Picq, a feminist and vice president of the National Association of Feminist Studies (Anef) says, “The activists of the European Association against Violence against Women at Work (AVFT) put sexual harassment on the political agenda in the 1980s and 1990s. They helped victims lodge their first complaints.”
The idea of sexual harassment was first introduced into French criminal law on July 22, 1992, and was defined as, “the fact of harassing another person using orders, threats or constraints with the aim of obtaining favours of a sexual nature”.
Picq says that the law only concerned harassment committed by superiors at work. “At that time, French feminists did not want to follow the US model: Over there, the norm was not to allow female students to be alone in a professor’s office,” the historian says.
“But in France, the aim was above all to penalise people who committed sexual harassment within the context of a hierarchical relationship at work,” the historian added.