France will now hand out fines of up to $885 for catcalling

France will now hand out fines of up to $885 for catcalling

PARIS (Reuters) - Men who wolf-whistle or sexually harass women on French streets face fines of up to 750 euros ($885) after lawmakers in the National Assembly approved tougher legislation to combat sexual violence.

However, a proposal to change age of consent laws to protect minors in rape cases was diluted after the highest legal authority, the Council of State, weighed in to warn it could be ruled unconstitutional.

Gender Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa had previously outlined plans to also change age of consent laws so that minors under 15 who have sex with adults over 18 would be presumed not to have given consent.

Opposition lawmakers and some women's rights groups decried that change as watering down the measure, though government ministers said the bill would still make it easier to obtain rape convictions.

Schiappa last year told Reuters the government was not looking to stamp out flirtatious behavior and "kill the culture of the 'French lover'", but simply looking to establish that consent was key.

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