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Plans to protect women on Metro

Government report claims every woman who has used public transport in Paris has suffered sexual harassment or assault

16 April 2015

EVERY woman who has used public transport in Paris has suffered at least one instance of sexual harassment or assault, according to a government report.

The statistic was revealed in a High Council for Equality between Women and Men (HCEfh) report aimed at tackling sexual harassment and assault on public transport, which was commissioned by Secretary of State for Women’s Rights Pascale Boistard.

The HCEfh said that every one of the 600 women in Seine-Saint-Denis and Essonne it questioned reported that they had experienced harassment or sexual aggression. It said that many instances go unreported because many women do not necessarily regard more minor incidents as harassment.

The Council said that its findings point to widespread predatory behaviour against women who use public transport across the whole of France.

The report put forward 15 recommendations to better protect citizens, including allowing anyone who does not feel safe travelling on public transport to ask the driver to pull over in between stops if it is closer to their destination. A similar “entre deux arrêts” or “between two stops” system is already in use in several Canadian cities.

It called for emergency phone boxes to be made available at stations and on Metro platforms, and said that train operator SNCF’s emergency phone number 3117 should be printed on Metro tickets.

It also suggests setting up an online platform to allow users to report incidents, and a public awareness campaign to remind people of their rights.

Photo: Omar Bárcena

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