Following the Harvey Weinstein scandal in the US, women in France have started their own movement against sexual harassment and abuse.
The social media hashtag #BalonceTonPorc, which translates to “expose your pig" or "squeal on your pig" is a new campaign launched by women in France who are fighting back against sexual harassers, assaulters, and predators at work.
French-speaking women speak out about everyday sexual harrassment on #balancetonporc (rat your pig out) and it's appalling. You go girls ❤️— MC Paccard (@mcpaccard) October 15, 2017
It began when journalist Sandra Mueller, tweeted her encounter with a powerful French executive.
“You have big breasts. You are my type of woman. I will make you orgasm all night,” she quoted him as having said, adding the hashtag #BalanceTonPorc. Tens of thousands of French women shared disturbing accounts of sexual harassment and abuse since Mueller shared her story on Twitter.
The campaign follows the #MeToo social media movement that erupted last week in the US, when actress Alyssa Milano encouraged survivors of sexual abuse and assault to come forward with their harrowing stories. It was inspired by the news of the sexual assault and harassment allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, which emerged through investigations published in The New York Times and the New Yorker magazine.
“It’s definitely overwhelming, but I feel like the time was right for this to happen and the fact that I could be a vessel to create change is really special,” Milano told Variety.
If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017
The mistreatment of several actresses by Weinstein also involves four French actresses, according to Time, where a debate has been stirred in the country about how to end sexual violence against women and verbal mistreatment.
“We all have stories of harassment and assault,” Marlène Schiappa, a feminist and writer who is France’s junior minister for gender equality, told RTL radio. “One of my best friends said something with this hashtag that she had never told our group of friends. This hashtag, with the barrier created by a screen, can help people speak out, and I think that it is truly beneficial.”
This movement is also leading to concrete action.
The New York Times reported that legislation is being discussed to fine men in France for aggressive catcalling or lewd behavior towards women in public, extend the statute of limitations in cases of sexual assault involving minors, and create a new age level under which minors cannot legally consent to a sexual relationship.
The issue became of importance last month when a court reduced charges against a 28-year-old man from rape to sexual assault, after it decided the 11-year-old victim consented to sexual relations since there was no “violence, restraint, threat, or surprise.”
The French First Lady, Brigette Macron, commended victims of sexual harassment or assault for coming forward, saying she’s “happy that women are talking, and maybe it will be an evil for a good.”
In Europe and elsewhere, several countries have already made catcalling and other forms of verbal sexual abuse a crime, according to The New York Times.
In Portugal, for example, the offense is punishable with a €120 ($142) fine. In Belgium, catcalling became illegal in 2014 with penalties including a one-year jail sentence and a €1,000 ($1,200) fine. And in New Zealand, street harassers are fined up to $1,000.
Global Citizen campaigns in support of gender equality and the elimination of discrimination. Pervasive sexual harassment and assault in the world’s biggest entertainment industry shows just how endemic the behavior is globally. You can take action here.