This French city has launched an anti-sexism app to protect beachgoers from harassment

Over one in three young women in Marseille say they have felt harassed on the beach

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
Beach in Marseille
Photograph: Shutterstock

Tips and tricks for female solo travellers have only grown in popularity, with women harnessing the confidence to up sticks and go and see the world independently. And why shouldn’t we?

The internet is awash with guides on the best and safest cities for women to travel solo, and a vast online community of experienced women often share their wisdom over platforms like TikTok. 

However, Marseille in France likely won’t have made the list of recommendations — but that soon could change. 

In response to a YouGov poll which revealed that 39 percent of 18 to 34-year-old women have experienced harassment on the beach, a new app called Safer Plage has been launched. 

Around 20 feminist organisations in the city have supplemented its development, and it was tested at music festivals in Marseille last summer. After its success, the beach version of the app has been launched across five spots in Marseille, and so far has been downloaded over 1,300 times. 

Users can select one of three options on Safer Plage: ‘I’m being bothered’, ‘I’m being harassed’, or ‘I’m in danger’. This sends an alert, and two beach mediators are sent to try to resolve the situation, one to support the victim, and one to manage the harasser. 

It just so happens that, in France, sexual harassment is punishable by a maximum of two years in prison, and a €30,000 (£25,800) fine.

The aim of the campaign, which Marseille council has spent €116,000 (£100,000) promoting, is not necessarily to press charges, but more to ‘shift shame onto the harasser,’ said Nathalie Tessier, a local councillor in charge of women’s affairs. 

So far, there haven’t been many alerts, but women in Marseille have welcomed the system. It certainly seems to be a step in the right direction for making travelling safer for us solo girlies. 

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