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Bum groping is not sexual harrasment in Austria

Austrian prosecutors have dropped sexual harassment charges against a man who pinched the bottom of a woman he saw on the street after saying that sexual harassment can only involve a woman's breasts or private parts.

The incident happened at the start of October when the 43-year-old woman who works in a bank in the Austrian city of Graz was waiting at a crossing when a man came alongside and said: "Wow, a woman with a fantastic arse, can I touch it?"

When she told him no he grabbed her backside anyway and squeezed.

The woman, who is the mother of two children, said that she had slapped him and tried to run away and then he had run after her and threatened her. She said: "he told me that he would not accept being hit by a woman." Police intervened and the woman pressed charges of sexual assault.

Local prosecutor Hansjörg Bacher however said that the charges had been dropped because the conditions that needed to be met had not been fulfilled.

He said: "The incident itself needs to involve physical contact with sexual parts, simply touching the woman on the bottom does not qualify as sexual harassment. That would not have been the case if he had for example grabbed her breasts or touched her improperly in the sexual region."

The woman said the decision by prosecutors was a second insult completely incomprehensible. She said that she had had to get counselling after the very public assault by the man and is demanding they reconsider the decision."

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