“We are strong, we are proud, and feminists and radical and angry!“Such was a slogan chanted and repeated by the 1,500 demonstrators (according to the police) leaving the Ixelles cemetery towards the place Fernand Cocq, this Thursday evening. Upon the arrival of the demonstration which took place peacefully, the mayor from Ixelles Christos Doulkeridis (Ecolo) received a delegation of demonstrators.
The atmosphere was festive and family, but not naive for all that in the streets of Ixelles. The demonstrators expressed their anger following the 17 accusations of sexual assault against a waiter at two bars in the cemetery of Ixelles. And yet, the energy of the protest was not (only) directed towards this particular case, but towards “a whole guilty system “.
Lucille, Rosie, Laure and Mélisandre are students, they are 20 and 21 years old, and they were there for “ssupport the victims and protect future generations, to show that women are not passive in the face of these acts and never have been“. According to the young girls, it is time to believe the victims and give them credit.”We are never believed and always responsible for our attacks.“
53% of rape cases dismissed
In Belgium, 53% of rape cases are dismissed according to Amnesty International. Célia, 30, was present “as a feminist activist“. “We constantly feel weak, in bars, at work, in the street. (…) 17 complaints filed, it is enormous when we know that many victims do not file a complaint. We know that we already have to take care of our drink in the evening, so if we also have to pay attention to the one the waiter serves us, we will never get away with it. “
The walk continues with a special instruction. The men, about 10% of the mass present, were asked to stay at the end of the procession so as not to make the main concerned people invisible. “ It’s good that they are there, we need allies, but they should not monopolize the floor “ confirm Lucille, Rosie, Laure and Mélisandre. If the crowd was mainly made up of young people, France, 70, also wanted to pound the pavement.
“It is scandalous what is happening. I walk with them because their struggle is just, it is heartwarming to see such a mobilization, and it is very important to provoke a reaction with this demonstration.“A reaction that Françoise de Smedt, head of the PTB group in the Brussels parliament is also waiting for.”Strong measures are needed, there are only three magistrates in Brussels who deal with moral matters. It’s nothing at all!“
The streets of Ixelles accompanied the procession. Local residents flock to their windows to film, applaud or even bang pots and pans to join the movement. One thing is certain for the radical feminists present, the anger will continue to rise as long as justice does not condemn the facts which brought them to the streets.