Two women have been assaulted and their husbands severely beaten on the French Riviera, after a gang of “youths” called the women “whores” because they were wearing shorts.
Attacks on women in ‘revealing clothes’ in Toulon, where the assault occurred, are becoming more common with residents fearing the emergence of a “morality police”.
Police described the recent attack as a “sexual provocation” and have now arrested at least two of the gang, aged 17 and 22, after they assaulted the families who were out rollerblading with their children.
The ethnic and religious backgrounds of the assailants has not been reported.
Ethnic tensions have been high on the Riviera. Toulon is just down the coast from Nice, where an Islamist murdered 85 people in July, and Cannes, one of the first places in France to subsequently introduce a burkini ban.
The prosecutor of Toulon, Bernard Marchal, told Charente Libre how “two families of three men, two women, and three children were biking and rollerblading when the women were taken to task by ten young people from the nearby city.
“They shouted they were ‘whores’ and said ‘Go on, get yourself naked’,” he said.
“The husbands asked them to respect their wives and this provoked a brawl. The three men were severely beaten in the face as the children watched. The women were slightly shaken,” the prosecutor added, describing the attack as a “sexual provocation to cause reaction of men”.
The women were shoved to the ground and one of the husbands suffered fractures to his face, French media reported. The two children present, aged 10 and 14, were said to have suffered “an obvious psychological shock”.
A similar case in Toulon erupted this June, when a young woman, Maude Vallet, was attacked by five girls, also for wearing shorts. The attackers insulted, threatened, and spat at her.
Following the incident, at least a hundred residents of the city rallied to support women’s rights to dress as they please by holding a “shorts walk”.
Furthermore, around 80,000 signed a petition in support of Ms. Vallet, which claimed that “gender equality” and core French values are under threat.