The reckoning of abusive men in power taking place in the US is not happening in a vacuum. A new campaign in France is encouraging women to come forward with their experiences, called #BalanceTonPorc, or “out your pig.”
USA Today reports that the hashtag is making waves in French media, as popular figures in the country are faced with allegations of sexual misconduct:
Well-known figures from the arts, politics, media, academia and business, such as French lawmaker Christophe Arend and former Socialist Party minister Pierre Joxe, have been accused of sexual harassment or assault.
The hashtag has been around since mid-October, started by journalist Sandra Muller, who related a story of a French executive commenting on her breasts. The conversation has been in part inspired by the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the following #MeToo campaign. (Weinstein allegedly assaulted several French actresses, including Léa Seydoux, and President Emmanuel Macron announced that he would be stripping Weinstein of his Legion of Honor award in October.)
In response to the outcry, the government considered imposing a fine for catcalling. Legislators are now exploring other measures, such as removing a provision in the law that demands minors who are victims of sexual assault prove that they resisted in order to get a rape conviction in court. Activists have organized a petition demanding the French government declare harassment of women an emergency, which currently has almost 150,000 signatures. There have been regular protests in the street against harassment and violence.
President Macron has been vocally supportive of these campaigns, but there seems to be a persistent notion that harassment is an aspect of French culture, and to combat it is to dismantle French identity.
“We must change the way society thinks,” Macron said earlier this month, according to USA Today. “We must calm these impulses to dominate that some men have, this (compulsion to) sexual violence.”