A man was being held by French police Tuesday over an attack last month on a woman in the center of Paris that was captured on video.
Marie Laguerre was punched in the face on July 24 in Paris’$2 19th arrondissement after challenging a man who she says was sexually harassing her.
The video, which she then shared on her Facebook page, sparked outrage across the world and led to a new discussion about the harassment faced by women on an everyday basis.
The man suspected of punching Laguerre was arrested on Monday and was still in custody on Tuesday, a spokesman for Paris prosecutors told CNN.
Laguerre said she was walking home when a man on the street started whistling and making “very degrading and humiliating” noises at her.
“It put me in a rage and I told him to shut up,” Laguerre told CNN in early August. “I didn’t think he’d hear me, but he did. He actually got really mad and then he threw an ashtray at me. After that, I insulted him and after that, he rushed back to punch me.”
The encounter, captured on video, lasts just seconds. After hitting her in the face, the assailant turns to walk away as witnesses at a nearby café stand up to confront him.
“I took the punch with the most pride I could, because I didn’t want to show him any sign of weakness or any sign that he was actually going to put me down,” Laguerre said.
The attack came just over a week before France’s National Assembly passed a new law banning sexual or sexist comments that are “degrading, humiliating, intimidating, hostile or offensive.” Harassment in public could warrant hefty, on-the-spot fines ranging from 90 to 750 euros ($105 to $878).
In the wake of the attack, Laguerre said she received hundreds of supportive messages from people around the world. She also set up a new online forum for women called Nous Toutes Harcèlement (“We are all harassed”), where women can share their stories anonymously.
“He wasn’t the first one that day, or that week,” Laguerre said. “It happens almost every day.”
A 2015 survey for the French Institute for Demographic Studies found that 20% of the female respondents reported receiving wolf whistles, 8% reported being insulted and 3% reported being followed in public spaces over a span of a year. Physical violence was reported by 1.3% of women, according to the survey, which had 27,000 respondents.
CNN’s Saskya Vandoorne reported from Paris. James Masters wrote from London.