French woman allegedly slapped, verbally harassed while breastfeeding

She went home but later went to the police station to press charges.
She went home but later went to the police station to press charges. Photo credit: Getty Images

A French woman who claims she was slapped and verbally harassed while breastfeeding her six-month-old on a Bordeaux street says she will press charges. 

The mother, known only as Maÿlis, was in line to collect a parcel and using a jacket to cover herself to discreetly breastfeed when a woman allegedly began to shout and verbally abuse her, reported Doctissimo via Connexion France.

“There was a woman who began to shout, and said to me ‘aren’t you ashamed?'," she said in a video posted to Instagram. 

She says the woman then approached her and slapped her across the face. 

She explains she was shocked and looked to other people in the line for support - but found none. Maÿlis says she only saw people who "kept their heads down and ignored it". 

She went home but later went to the police station to press charges against the woman. It was there she felt the officer blamed her for what had happened, reported Connexion France.

"The police officer took down my statement as if he had other things to do. He even asked me what percentage of my chest had been visible. I said zero, because I had a specially adapted T-shirt, and I was also covering myself with a jacket," she said in the video on Instagram. 

Since sharing her experience, Maÿlis has received outpourings of support online.

A petition has been set up to show support and currently has over 27,000 signatures, while #iwanttobreastfree and #soutienamaylis (support for Maylis) are being used around the world.

The petition said there is a "great confusion between the beauty, the dignity of breastfeeding in women and the sexualization of their body".

France has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates globally, reported Connexion France, even though breastfeeding is widely recommended by health experts.