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A giant French national flag flutters under the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris, France, during the Armistice Day commemorations marking the end of World War I, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. (Stephane de Sakutin/ Pool Photo via AP)

Proposed legislation could make cat-calling costly for men in France


French politician Marlène Schiappa has a message for French men who cat-call women on the streets: either keep your mouth shut, or open your pocketbook.

The 34-year-old early supporter of President Emmanuel Macron proposed legislation on Monday to ban cat-calling and harassment of women on French streets. The law would fine men on the spot for engaging in aggressive behavior, the Straits Times reported.

"It's completely necessary because at the moment street harassment is not defined in the law," she told RTL radio on Monday in a major interview to outline the law, which is expected to be voted on next year.

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When asked about difficulty in drawing a line between harassment and flirtation, Schiappa said, women "know very well at what point [they] start feeling intimidated, unsafe or harassed in the street." She cited specific examples, such as when men invade a women's personal space "by talking to you 10, 20 centimetres from your face" or "asks for your number 17 times."

"The symbolic value of laws that outlaw street harassment is very great," she continued.

The legislation wouldn't only hold men financially accountable for cat-calling, but would also aim to lengthen the amount of times women have to file sexual assault complaints from their childhood as well as strengthen laws on sex with minors.

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