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It’s an incredibly frustrating aspect of reality that women and girls face constant public sexual harassment daily.

In Tuesday’s report written by MPs on the women and qualities committee in Britain, the issue has now been labelled “urgent” following a nine-month enquiry on the matter.

The report is insisting that the UK government take immediate and effective action to attempt to create a safer public environment for women.

From exercising in public parks and frequenting nightclubs or bars to simply utilising our city’s public transport, women can almost almost claim to have felt the burden of danger in communal spaces of our communities.

Experiences have more recently been shared of extensive experiences of sexual assault and harassment, and there are more accounts than ever of crimes being committed against women in public.

France has recently introduced a law against street harassment which results in on-the-spot fines for predatory comments and harassment such as sexualised remarks and wolf-whistling, after a woman was viciously attacked by a man for confronting him about his offensive behaviour towards her.

The committee has “heard evidence of widespread problems” of both men and boys “sexually harassing women and even girls on buses and trains, in bars and clubs, in online spaces and at university, in parks and on the street.”

The subject of school uniforms was also mentioned in the report, written by cross-party MPs, testifying that girls in their school attires are pressurised to avoid risky situations which "keeps women and girls unequal".

Street harassment has been described in the document as “relentless and becomes ‘normalised’ as girls grow up, contributing to a wider negative cultural effect on society.”

The committee also sets out seven steps which they aim to take in the report, among them is the proposal to force train and bus operators and publican landlords to take tougher measures towards fighting sexual harassment on their premises.

It also requests a public information campaign which is specifically designed to change attitudes, akin to road safety campaigns and first aid programmes.

The British Home Office also states that they view the epidemic problem as a “key priority,” and are devising an updated “Violence against Women and Girls” strategy and scheme.

Writing on public pavements in chalk has become a new pacifistic method for women to fight back, to feel safe in their own cities.

Regardless of government promises to eliminate such prevalent behaviour entirely by 2030, the Women and Equalities Committee concludes negatively that there is currently "no evidence of any programme to achieve this".

Twitter users especially are expressing anger at how ‘obvious’ the headline is, and that there is not a single mention of men in the article, who are by-in-large the major perpetrators of sexual harassment. 

It remains to be seen whether improvements will take place which will finally allow women and girls to feel safe, but the reaction online to the BBC’s headline has been scathing.

Let's hope governments worldwide bring in sharp ways to tackle this highly concerning problem which is so engrained in our culture that many of us have become completely desensitised to it. Safety is a right, not a privilege.

Have a look at BBC’s 100 Women I know video on Street Harassment here:

The Bristol Zero Tolerance group has also written an informative guide on how to respond to street harassment, which you can read here.

Stay safe, gals.

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New laws aimed at tackling sexual violence in France will see men fined for wolf-whistling at women. 

France’s National Assembly voted in favour of the new legislation which will see offenders face on-the-spot fines of up to €750. 

President Emmanuel Macron has said the bill is meant to ensure "women are not afraid to be outside," and covers anything that “infringes the freedom of movement of women in public spaces and undermines self-esteem and the right to security”.

Despite widespread public backing, far-right lawmaker Emmanuelle Menard labelled the legislation as a "witchhunt against men" during last week's debate. 

Speaking about the law and how it would define the lines between harassment and flirtatious behaviour, France's minister for gender equality, Marlene Schippa, said the bill was not intended to "kill the culture of the 'French lover' but rather establish that consent is key."

This comes at the same time France's lower parliament stopped legislation whereby minors under 15 who have sex with adults over 18 would be presumed not to have given their consent, and instead introduced a clause in which relations between an adult and a minor could be classified as rape if "the victim lacks the ability to consent". 

The bill now is now due to go to the Senate for final approval.

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What would you do do get your hands on a sweet, sweet discounted jar of Nutella?

Well, if you're anything like our French neighbours, apparently rioting, fighting and generally causing chaos is the answer. 

Several supermarkets owned by Intermarche across France offered a whopping 70pc off jars of Nutella, and French shoppers literally went crazy for the deal. 

The sale saw prices drop from €4.70 to a measly €1.40. 

In one video posted on Twitter, shoppers are seen pushing and shoving in order to acquire as many jars as possible.

In a statement to The Associated Press, Ferrero, the makers of the delicious hazelnut spread, said: 'We want to clarify that the decision for the special offer was taken unilaterally by Intermarche.'

'We regret the consequences of this operation, which created confusion and disappointment in the consumers’ minds.'

Not going to lie, we would probably be quite excited at the prospect of discounted Nutella, but we probably wouldn't be punching people in the face over it. 

Probably. 

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Men in France could be fined as much as €90.00 for harassing women in the street.

Men who make 'loud and lewd comments' about women, follow them in the street or block their path could be fined under a new bill targeting street harassment. 

The bill was put forward as part of a proposal focussing on street harassment and sexual violence, and seeks to eventually make the former a criminal offence.

Commenting on the move, Gender Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa highlights women's vulnerability and their lack of protection in the eyes of the law.

'It's completely necessary because at the moment street harassment is not defined in the law,' she told French radio RTL.

'At the moment, one can’t file a lawsuit for street harassment.'

The Minister hopes that the fining process will tackle the 'gray zone between consented seduction and sexual aggression,' according to French paper Le Croix.

Previously, it was reported that wolf-whistling would be included under this bill. 

The report does not recommend that wolf-whistlers be fined. 

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Authorities are at the scene of what has been described as a 'serious rail accident' in the south of France. 

A regional train collided with a school bus in the region of Perpignan, killing four children. 

The victims are said to be aged between 13 and 17, according to The Guardian.

A further nine people were injured in the accident, which occurred at a train crossing. 

Emergency services have been mobilised in the area. 

One witness told French publication L’Indépendant that the impact from the incident was 'violent.'

'We thought the train was going to come off the rails and turn over,' they said.

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The World Rugby Council has selected France to the host the 2023 Rugby World Cup following a secret ballot in London on Wednesday morning.

The European nation proved to be the strongest contender, beating both Ireland and South Africa in the race to host the sporting tournament.

South Africa had been named as the preferred choice by World Rugby's independent review, though the final decision was left to representatives from the council's member nations.

After securing just eight votes, Ireland's bid was eliminated in the first round.

France then went on to win 25 votes to South Africa's 15.

The result comes after both France and Ireland criticised World Rugby's decision to recommend South Africa, with  IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne going as far as to write a letter of complaint outlining his concerns about the process. 

According to The Irish Independent, World Rugby acknowledged the letter last week and said that "it had addressed in full, clarification requests by the Rugby World Cup 2023 host candidates and council members." 

Of course, Irish rugby fans are pretty disappointed about the whole situation, but hey, at least we've an excuse to take a holiday – and it's waaaay cheaper to fly to Paris than it is to Cape Town. 

Every cloud… 

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The French government looks set to reassess its laws around sexual consent following two cases where men were acquitted of raping 11-year-old girls.

As it stands, the age of consent in France is 15, however prosecutors must still prove that the sexual act was non-consensual in order to charge the offender with rape.

According to reports, the country's Justice Minister, Nicole Belloubet, confirmed that officials were considering the introduction of a fixed age, below which “consent is presumed not to exist.”

“The question of the age below which the minor's consent is presumed not to exist is crucial, because there are obviously extremely shocking and unacceptable situations,” she said.

There are currently no laws in place that classify sex with someone below a certain age as rape, meaning that if there is no violence involved, many offenders may only be charged with sexual abuse of a minor.

According to The Irish Independent, Marlene Schiappa, a junior minister for gender equality, said that the cut-off could be between the ages of 13 and 15.

“Below a certain age, it is considered that there can be no debate on the sexual consent of a child, and that any child below a certain age would automatically be considered to be raped or sexually assaulted.”

The news come after two recent court cases highlighted the need for stricter laws in relation to the age of consent.

Two men, 29 and 30, who abused two 11-year-old girls in separate incidents, were both acquitted after it was deemed that their acts did not constitute rape under French law.

According to current legislation, a person can only be charged with rape of a minor if the sexual act is committed “by violence, coercion, threat or surprise.”

In Ireland the age of sexual consent is 17, with additional protection in place to protect children under 15.

Other European countries like Germany and Portugal have a lower age of consent at 14.

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The body of a young Irish woman reported missing last week has been found in a public park in France.

21-year-old Eimear Noonan was last seen on Wednesday afternoon in the town of Annonay, 100km north of Marseille, where she worked as an English language teacher.

A statement on brother Cathal's Facebook page last night confirmed that Eimear's body had been found on Friday morning.

She was described as a “warm, bubbly person who had already made a wide circle of friends there through her love of music and singing.”

Her death is not being treated as suspicious with a government official saying it is believed she fell into water and drowned following a fall while out running.

A postmortem is due to be carried out today or tomorrow.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is providing consular assistance and Eimear's family have appealed for privacy during this difficult time.

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In the wake of legislation proposed by Gender Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa, individuals in France, who are caught wolf-whistling at women in public, will be subject to a fine.

The bill was put forward as part of a proposal focussing on street harassment and sexual violence, and seeks to eventually make the former a criminal offence.

Commenting on the move, Marlene highlights women's vulnerability and their lack of protection in the eyes of the law.

"It's completely necessary because at the moment street harassment is not defined in the law, "she told French radio RTL. "At the moment, one can’t file a lawsuit for street harassment."

When pressed as to what constitutes harassment, the 34-year-old minister replied: "We know very well at what point we start feeling intimidated, unsafe or harassed in the street."

"When someone breaks into your vital space, talks to you within 10 or 20 centimeters of your face, follows you for three, four, five or six streets, or ask for your telephone number about 17 times."

As it stands, Marlene believes the fine should be low enough to ensure the perpetrator is in a position to pay it immediately when apprehended by police.

According to reports, the law will be voted on in 2018 following a cross-party discussion group of five MPs.

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Two women have been killed in a knife attack at Marseille's Saint Charles train station in southern France.

The assailant, believed to of North African origin, was shot dead by security forces shortly after the incident occurred.

Media reports suggest that the attack is being treated as an act of terrorism, with one unnamed officer telling France's Le Monde newspaper that the perpetrator had cried "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest).

The French national police force tweeted an update on the situation shortly after 2pm this afternoon.

Traffic in and out of the train station has been stopped and police had earlier asked people to avoid the area. 

According to BFMTV, the attacker was killed by French soldiers who were already in the station as part of Operation Sentinelle – an initiative which sees combat troops protect key sites amid an ongoing state of emergency.

Feature Image: J. Louis Bryson

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The fashion industry has come under a lot of scrutiny lately, especially with store mannequins being deemed as an "extremely underweight woman."

However, a law that was passed in France in 2015, which saw a ban on extremely thin models, is finally being put into effect this week.

From now on, any and all models will be asked to provide a health certificate from a doctor before they can take part in any photoshoots, runway shows or appearances.

Image result for thin models

The certificate must include details of their BMI and wellbeing.

The certs have to be presented to any employer, and if the employer is found to not be following the new rules, they could be hit with a fine of up to €75,000 and up to six months in jail.

The health ministry in France has put the new legislation in place to help tackle eating disorders in the country, and as well as a ban on thin models, they are also labelling all images that have been photoshopped.

France's Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Marisol Touraine, said: "Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behaviour".

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France has issued a terror alert after a man opened fire in a school in Grasse, France.

The man, who was carrying "several weapons" shot the headmaster at the Alexis de Tocqueville school in the small town.

According to the French publication Interieur, police have confirmed that one man has been arrested, but it is thought that another is on the run.

Subsequently, a terror alert has been issued and residents of the town have been advised to stay inside.

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