This Reuters article points out the violence is nothing new, just more widespread:
Even before the riots, Ophelia, 16, used to run home from school every day because she was afraid of being attacked in the maze of high-rise buildings in her suburb northeast of Paris.
A series of gang rapes in these bleak housing estates shocked France a few years ago. In 2002, a 17-year-old girl was set alight by an 18-year-old boy as his friends stood by.
Walking near a burned-out garbage bin, Ophelia's twin sister Sandra says the riots came as no surprise. Violence against and pressure on women is part of daily life in the suburbs, where boys can dictate how girls should dress.
"You have to behave like a guy and look like a guy. If you wear a skirt, you get into immediate trouble. You're a slut," says Sandra, wearing a baggy sweatshirt and jeans.
Go read the whole thing.