Today I want to share with you one of the worst things about Brussels. I know that may sound a little odd for this blog, but this is just too important not to post.
Last week a documentary by Belgian film student Sofie Peeters made the headlines across Europe. The film about sexual harassment in the streets of Brussels shows a dark and disgusting side of this city. In general Brussels is not unsafe but, like many other women, I’ve received unsolicited and inappropriate comments from men in the street and was even followed a couple of times. However I’ve been lucky to never experience anything like Sofie and the other women in the film. What I saw really troubled me and, much like Sofie in her concluding remarks, it’s hard to see what the solution to the problem might be.
Much has already been written about the film (here and here) and I don’t want to analyze it here. And this of course is not a problem unique to Brussels. I just simply think everyone should watch this – both men and women.
So what’s being done to address the problem? The city of Brussels plans to introduce fines for sexual intimidation as of September. Women are sharing their stories and fighting back through initiatives like Hollaback! which I wrote about a few months ago. This is a good start but somehow it doesn’t seem like enough. I don’t have the answer but I hope Sofie’s film continues to raise attention around this serious issue and that we as a society can take concrete steps to end sexism, harassment and violence.
Whatever your views on the issue, please pass this on and share with others.