Actress Maaike Cafmeyer, among others, took the floor on Thursday morning on the second day of the De Pauw trial.

Actress Maaike Cafmeyer, among others, took the floor on Thursday morning on the second day of the De Pauw trial. © BELGA

Several women who have filed civil proceedings against Bart De Pauw themselves took the floor on Thursday at the trial of the 53-year-old television maker. “For me, the facts date from a long time ago. Fifteen years. And yet it’s like it was yesterday,” said actress Maaike Cafmeyer.

LIVE. Follow the second day of the De Pauw trial here

“I was not that mature yet, not yet in the power to say the right thing,” he said Maaike Cafmeyer. “Even those who think they are saying the right thing are not saying the right thing. So whatever you do – you say no, you say yes, you say maybe – it’s never right. Never. And that puts us in a position akin to being slowly strangled by a snake. As if the breath goes out of your body and you can no longer say what you really feel. Still. And that’s exactly what I think is so bad. (Voice breaks) Bart, how is that even possible? You hoped that I would never say such a thing, never find the courage to do so. And I hardly find them either. I don’t understand why you put all those women in such a terrible position. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Also actress Lize Feryn took the floor. “I’ve been ashamed of myself for the past few years. Guilt. I blamed myself. Was it a good idea to answer with humor? Could I have responded differently? Should I have sold him a pet like everyone else said? I hope he also looked at himself, I would be very happy about that. That would already make up for a lot.”

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Ex-intern Helen of Craemer put it this way: “During that period I squeezed every corner to be able to deal with Bart De Pauw’s behaviour. I felt so bad and guilty for not finding a way to deal with the tsunami (to messages, ed.) to go. I was very young and all alone. He set himself up as my mentor, but he burdened me with something that I still wonder why I had to endure. I don’t understand why you would do this to a young intern and then say: it was just a joke. I did my best, been empathetic. I am eager to learn, Mr De Pauw took advantage of that. He touched me in the depths of my person and put the blame on me. I hope it becomes clear that his behavior is harmful so that I can stop feeling guilty.”

Actress Ella-June Henrard: “When I get messages all night about how hot I’m in my skirt, then it’s that skirt he chose. Humiliating. It makes me feel powerless, so that I can’t do my job as I should. It makes me feel very insecure.”

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Finally, also directed Dymphne Poppe, former intern at De Pauw’s production house Koeken Troef!, turned to the accused. “As a young woman I had the feeling that I had to do two jobs: one was to answer the hundreds of messages from Bart, the other trying to do my job well. He made me very insecure and made me feel isolated and alone. I still suffer from guilt and shame. I think Bart knows those fears well, even if he’s going to paint me as a liar. It was good to hear when the lawyers and prosecutor told me that my guilt was unjustified.”

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