The issue of street harassment has gained lots of attention in Brussels over the last year. There was the launch of the Belgian student film Femme de la Rue, which raised a huge debate in Belgium and across Europe. Elle Belgique magazine ran a campaign Touche pas a ma pote (Don’t touch my friend) and the online movement Hollaback! has been active raising awareness and supporting women in Brussels. As a result, the Belgian government has passed a law to fine those guilty of street harassment and intimidation. I’m not sure what impact this has had so far, but at least the problem is on the agenda and officials are making efforts to address it.
But of course the issue of violence against women is one that still needs a lot of work. So tomorrow on St Valentine’s Day, the European Women’s Lobby is joining the global One Billion Rising movement with a flashmob in Brussels to raise awareness and protest violence against women.
It’s unbelievable but one in three women will suffer physical violence during her lifetime, meaning one billion women in the world. Every day in Europe seven women die because of domestic violent attacks by their husbands or partners. If you’re as outraged by this fact as I am, head down to Place de la Monnaie at 5:30pm tomorrow to join the group dance and song, and take a stand.
Here are the instructions for the flashmob dance (get practicing tonight!) and you can read the lyrics to the song composed for the occasion “Rise Up, Stand Up!” here.
This is a great way to make Valentine’s Day a bit more meaningful beyond the typical flowers and chocolates. And hey, the event will be over by 6:30pm, so you’ll still have time to make your romantic dinner tomorrow night!