Almost 3,000 at protest against violence against women
Members of dozens of feminist organisations and their sympathisers have taken to the streets of Brussels on Sunday to protest against violence against women. This year’s protest, the 5th of its kind to be organised, attracted almost 3,000 participants, accord to figures released by the police. Those taking part in the demonstration are demanding that the government take additional measures to address the issue of violence against women.
Mirabel that unites the various groups that organised Sunday’s demonstration points to the #Metoo movement and the recent demonstrations against sexual violence in the Brussels municipality of Elsene as underlining the necessity for their protest.
Mirabel cites several examples of what can be done to improve safety for women in Belgium. One such example is the opening of additional refuges for women that have been victims of domestic violence and their children. However, the demonstrators at Sunday’s protest say that it is deeply regrettable that this measure was only a form of crisis management.
They point to a clause in the Treaty of Istanbul that states that women that are the victims of domestic violence’s rights should be guaranteed regardless of their residency status. However, the protesters say that in Belgium undocumented women that are victims of domestic violence are not always given access to publicly funded emergency refuges.
They also say that a bill that will be put before the federal parliament on the reform of the laws on sexual offences and that provides for stiffer sentences if the perpetrator is found to have acted “consciously and deliberately” is only a very small step forward. They say that proving someone acted “consciously and deliberately” will be very difficult if the person accused of the crime doesn’t admit it themselves.