Poll Reveals Shocking Level of Sexual Harassment on Paris Trains

Each one of the 600 women polled, all from outlying suburbs of Paris, said that they had been subjected to sexual harassment at least once in their lives.

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Inside a Paris Metro station.Credit: Tal Cohen

Parisians have been shocked by the results of a poll showing that 100 per cent of women say they have been sexually harassed on the city's public transport, The Local website reports.

The poll, which was commissioned by the High Council for Equality, questioned 600 women in the outlying Paris suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis and Essonne.

Each one of the women said that she had experienced some form of gender-based sexual harassment at least once in her life while riding the train.

"Gender harassment" was defined in the poll as "the imposition of any kind of words or behavior that are intended to create a situation that is intimidating, humiliating, degrading, or offensive."

A report with the detailed findings of the poll was sent by the council to France’s health minister Marisol Touraine on Thursday. Touraine said the government will respond to the “high quality” report within a few weeks.

The report included a range of recommended measures to address the issue, including education programs to enable women to identify harassment, and how to react if they are a victim.

It also suggested other measures, like letting bus drivers stop at undesignated stops along the route to allow women to get off closer to home and printing the number of a complaint hotline on transport tickets.

Half of the women polled said that the harassment they had experienced happened before they reached the age of 18.

An unnamed 26-year-old woman said that Paris was the worst city she had lived in when it came to feeling safe around men on public transport.

She told The Local: “The men in Paris take a lot of liberties... it’s like they don’t really care what they say or how it might make someone feel.

“Sometimes I deliberately change train carriages if there are lots of men. I’d rather not put myself in a situation where I’m alone with only men because I know what would happen.”