The new Paris. And remember: if you dare to raise a murmur of complaint, you will be denounced as a racist, bigoted “Islamophobe.”
“Paris: Women hunted in the Chapelle-Pajol neighborhood,” translated from “Paris : les femmes chassées des rues dans le quartier Chapelle-Pajol,” by Cécile Beaulieu, Le Parisien, May 18, 2017 (thanks to E.):
Women in this part of eastern Paris complain that they can not move about without being subjected to comments and insults from men.
They are several hundred square meters of road abandoned to men alone, and women are no longer entitled to be there. Cafes, bars and restaurants are prohibited, as are the sidewalks, the subway station and the squares. For more than a year, the Chapelle-Pajol district (10th-18th administrative districts) has completely changed its face: groups of dozens of lone men, street vendors, aliens, migrants and smugglers hold the streets, harassing women.
Disgusted, the inhabitants of the neighborhood decided to launch a large petition to denounce the situation. Every day becomes more and more oppressive. Young girls, who can no longer go out alone, cannot wear a skirt or trousers that cling too close to the body without receiving a lash of insults: one of them tells of having her hair lit up by a cigarette.
“Continuous unkind remarks”
“We are all subjected to unbearable treatment,” says Nathalie, 50, who has lived in the neighborhood for thirty years, and a “hostile” climate in recent months: “These are insults, incessant unkind remarks. The atmosphere is agonizing, to the point of having to modify our itinerary, our clothes. Some even have given up going out,” such as the old lady of 80 years who was sexually assaulted as she returned to her building, and is now entrenched in her apartment.
“A male den”
Aurélie, a young woman of 38 years, admits to not recognizing the quarter where she has lived for 15 years, rue Perdonnet (10th administrative district): “The simple act of walking around has become problematic. The cafe downstairs, a bistro once friendly, has turned into an exclusively male haunt and is constantly crowded: I receive my share of remarks when I go out, especially since they drink enormously: A few days ago, the simple act of appearing at my window triggered a flood of insults, and I had to lock myself in my apartment. Some time ago, I used the Boulevard de la Chapelle from Stalingrad, even late at night … It’s unthinkable today. ”
Laure carefully avoids the Metro station. Like the place of the same name: “In recent weeks, I was caught in the middle of a brawl of vendors. I screamed, and two of them took out knives to threaten me. I thought my last hour had arrived. And it has been months since my 12-year-old daughter has gone to school alone, or to anywhere in the neighborhood, by the way. ”
Complaining would have little effect
How to combat the phenomenon? The women of La Chapelle know that filing a complaint would have little effect. Then, by mutual agreement, and on the advice of Nadine Mezence, deputy for the equality of men and women of the mayor (PS) of the eighteenth administrative district, they decided to organize an exploratory march in the near future. Together, they will travel to all the places of the district where they are undesirable. Then they will report their observations to the public authorities … They hope to be heard. At the Borough Hall, it is assured that their remarks will be examined with the utmost attention.
110 police operations since January
The issue of harassment of women, including the presence of dozens of migrants in Pajol Street, will be discussed this Monday in the council of the administrative district by the elected official (LR), Pierre Liscia. Meanwhile, Eric Lejoindre of the Mayor’s Office (PS) recognizes the complexity of the situation: “Women have a feeling of vulnerability to this violence, often associated with alcoholism, but the public response is essentially to rely on the police.”
Precisely, since the launch of the “Barbès breathes” device in January, by the police prefect with deployment of reinforcements on the sector, 110 operations have resulted in more than 19,000 evictions of vendors, and 884 people were arrested. But the inhabitants want operations of more ample scope, in order to regain their lost serenity …
“Women, an endangered species in the heart of Paris”
“At this point, our neighborhood is left to men alone: no more is there a woman in the cafes. There is not a single child in the Louise-de-Marillac square. Some of us are terrified at home.”