Dozens of women have complained of sex attacks during the disorderly celebrations which followed France’s World Cup win.
Victims reported that they were forcibly kissed, groped on the breasts and buttocks, and even grabbed between their legs, with sociologist Eric Neveu suggesting that a sense of “collective euphoria” coupled with a belief that punishment was unlikely had stimulated an atmosphere of “impunity”.
“[T]he idea that everything is allowed [encourages] people who have propensities for aggressive behaviour,” he told public radio station France Inter.
Judicial sources claimed two males had been arrested for sex offences following the celebrations, one of them a minor, but that they had not observed any spike in sexual assault reports — although many of the women who took to social media to complain of attacks under the #MeTooFoot hashtag indicated they had not filed formal complaints because they did not believe the police would act.
“We were at least 200,000 in Lyon,” said one high school age girl, who described how she was grabbed by the neck and assaulted by two men. “What is the point of my filing a suit… I already know that the police will not do any research on this.”
Another woman claimed she did approach officers after a man took out his penis and began masturbating against her leg in a fan zone in Nantes, “but they said they were there in case of terror attacks” and did not offer any immediate help.
She did not pursue the matter after that, saying: “There’s no point, because they’ll never be able to find them.”
— France Inter (@franceinter) July 18, 2018
France’s World Cup win, hailed as a triumph for diversity by left-liberal commentators, was also marred by a great deal of general disorder, rioting, and looting. Videos posted to social media claiming to have been taken in the aftermath appear to show men waving the flags of African countries such as Morocco rather than the French tricolore.
Other recordings from the celebrations show massive crowds hurling bottles, fireworks, and other projectiles at riot police, who had to deploy tear gas and water cannons in an attempt to contain the unrest, while groups elsewhere took the opportunity to smash their way into commercial premises and loot them.
Fully 292 arrests were reported in the immediate aftermath of the celebrations, including 102 in Paris, with the number likely to rise as police follow up on some of the criminality.