There are several hundred square meters of asphalt abandoned to men alone, which women are no longer entitled to use. Cafés, bars and restaurants are prohibited to them. The same with the sidewalks, the subway station and the squares. For more than a year, the Chapelle-Pajol district (10th and 18th arrondissements) has completely changed its face: groups of dozens of lone men, street vendors, aliens, migrants and smugglers, occupy the streets, all the while harassing women.
Disgusted, the female inhabitants of the neighborhood decided to launch a major petition to denounce the situation. And a daily life that has become more and more oppressive. The young girls, who can no longer go out alone or wear a skirt or trousers that are too tight without receiving a lash of insults: one of them tells of her having endured a cigarette lighter that set her hair alight.
[Photo caption: For more than a year, the Chapelle-Pajol district (10th and 18th arrondissements) has completely changed its face]
“We are all subjected to unbearable treatment,” says Nathalie, 50, who claims thirty years in the neighborhood, and an “unheard-of” climate in recent months: “There are insults, incessant remarks. The atmosphere is agonizing, to the point of having to modify our itinerary, our clothes. Some have even given up going out.” Like the elderly lady of 80 years, who was sexually assaulted as she returned to her building, and is now confined to her apartment.
“A male den”
Aurélie, a young woman of 38 years, admits that she does not recognize the quarter where she has lived for 15 years, rue Perdonnet (Xe): “The simple fact of walking down the street has become problematic. The café downstairs, a once-friendly bistro, has turned into an exclusively male haunt and is constantly crowded: I can expect my share of remarks when I go ahead, especially since they drink to excess: a few days ago, the simple fact of appearing at my window triggered a flood of insults, and I had to lock myself in my apartment. Some time ago, I used to take the Boulevard de la Chapelle from Stalingrad, even late at night … It’s unthinkable today.”