While women in Hollywood and around the world are using the hashtag #MeToo to share their experiences of sexual harassment, in France women are using #BalanceTonPorc.
The hashtag, which roughly translates to “rat out your pig”, went viral this week and encourages women to speak up in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
And the uproar couldn’t have come at a better time for the French Government…
Just this week it introduced a bill that aims to crack down on sexual harassment and make it a fineable offence to catcall a woman on the street.
Here’s everything you need to know.
The Weinstein scandal is big news in France
When multiple allegations of sexual harassment emerged against Weinstein earlier this month, it hit a nerve in France.
A number of French actresses, including James Bond star Lea Seydoux, are among those who have accused the movie mogul of sexual wrongdoing.
And an Italian actress alleges one incident occurred at France’s own Cannes Film Festival in 1999.
French actress Lea Seydoux has levelled allegations against Weinstein. (Reuters: Gonzalo Fuentes)
“Everyone knew what Harvey was up to and no-one did anything,” Seydoux recently wrote in an opinion piece for The Guardian.
Adding to the outrage is the fact that Weinstein was awarded France’s highest honour, its Legion of Honor award, in 2012.
The award — first established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 — recognises distinguished services for the nation, and was given to Weinstein after his company produced the French film, The Artist, which won big at the Oscars.
President Emmanuel Macron says that award will now be revoked.
#BalanceTonPorc started so French women could share stories
The hashtag #BalanceTonPorc was started by French journalist Sandra Muller, even before actress Alyssa Milano had started the #MeToo campaign.
She kicked it off by sharing lewd comments once made to her by a former boss, including “you have big breasts” and “you are my type of woman”.
Tweet by Sandra Muller: #metoo should have a link with the french #balancetonporc @Alyssa_Milano. Same purpose. What do you think about this?
Since then, the hashtag has been widely shared and has captured the attention of France’s first lady Brigitte Macron and gender equality minister — yep that’s a thing — Marlene Schiappa.
“They are very brave to do it. I am really in support of breaking the silence. It’s really amazing. Something is happening,” Ms Macron said on Monday.
Ms Schiappa added: “It’s not women who don’t speak, but society which does not listen to them.”
Now France is moving to crack down on sexual harassment
All this couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for the French Government.
Just this week it proposed a bill that seeks to crack down on sexual harassment, including introducing fines for people who sexually harass a woman on the street.
That could include, according to Ms Schiappa, “when someone breaks into your vital space, talks to you within 10 or 20 centimetres of your face, follows you for three, four, five or six streets, or asks for your telephone number about 17 times”.
Ms Schiappa didn’t say how much that fine would be, but suggested it should be low enough that a person could pay it on the spot after being caught by police.
In addition, the bill would also extend the statute of limitations — or timeframe for taking legal action — for sexual assaults in cases involving minors, and introduce an age under which a minor cannot consent to a sexual relationship.
Only children under five are automatically regarded as non-consenting in current French case law.
Last month many in France were shocked by a case in which prosecutors charged a 28-year-old man who had sexual intercourse with an 11-year-old girl with sexual abuse of a minor, instead of rape.
They couldn’t charge him with rape because the man did not use threat or a weapon.
Politicians are expected to vote on the bill next year.