Insufficient police support for victims of sexual violence in France

A feminist organization recently launched a survey and gathered over 500 testimonies from women whose complaints of sexual harassment and violence were not taken seriously by the police. 

Lara Bullens
Lara Bullens NewsMavens, Western Europe
Insufficient police support for victims of sexual violence in France - NewsMavens
French police station, Wikicommons.

Why this story matters:

In just ten days, the Groupe F and Paye Ta Police collected 500 testimonies of women whose claims of sexual harassment or violence were downplayed or ignored by authorities.

As with MeToo, the hashtag PayeTaPlainte (meaning "pay the price of your complaint") is bringing awareness to how little victims of sexual harassment and violence are being supported. Police in France (and surely elsewhere in Europe) often trivialize complaints filed by women and resort to victim-blaming. This discourages victims from believing that something can actually be done.

In bringing awareness to the issue, PayeTaPlainte stresses that police are essential actors when it comes to ending sexual violence.

If complaints of sexual harassment and violence are brushed aside, or even worse, rejected, police officers are effectively taking part in the silencing that has oppressed victims for years.

What's more, this sort of poor management not only discourages the victims but also gives a false sense of impunity to their aggressors. 

Hashtags have proven to be a powerful tool in bringing awareness, and PayeTaPlainte has the potential to show French society -- and Europe as a whole -- the magnitude of the issue at hand.

Details from the story:

  • The survey was launched on the 12th of March
  • Groupe F and Paye Ta Police got 500 responses in the span of 10 days
  • Police often trivialize the facts, or these complaints simply get refused or guilt the victim into feeling illegitimate
  • In 9 out of 10 cases, recent complaints -- 70% of them are less than 5 years old -- are mismanaged at police stations
  • In 2017 in France, complaints of sexual harassment and rape rose to 10% and 12% respectively, compared to 2016
  • The latter could mean that complaints are starting to be taken more seriously 
  • Paye Ta Police is a Tumblr blog that posts cases in which women complained to the police and were not taken seriously
  • Another Tumblr blog called Paye Ton Taf posts sexist comments that women were confronted with at work 
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