Belgian artist Jan Fabre will not appeal 18 months suspended sentence

Belgian artist Jan Fabre will not appeal 18 months suspended sentence
Jan Fabre. Credit: Belg

Belgian artist Jan Fabre – who at the end of April was convicted of violence, bullying and sexual harassment at work as well as indecent assault – will not appeal the court ruling that has imposed an 18-month suspended sentence on him.

The appeal period for the case ended on Monday: neither those who took the case to court nor Jan Fabre are appealing, meaning the case is closed, the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men announced on Monday.

"It is clear from the verdict that the court recognises the seriousness and pattern of the cases. The fact that Fabre was convicted for his behaviour towards six women certainly strengthens the others in that sense," lawyer An-Sofie Raes said in a press release.

The judges ruled that Fabre acted with the same criminal intent: each time he approached young dancers of his dance company from a position of power and committed sexual acts.

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"They have similar stories in which the same pattern recurs over and over again," Raes said, adding that the victims who took the case to court are satisfied with the verdict and relieved that the legal proceedings are now over.

"It seemed like an endless marathon. For victims of transgressive behaviour, especially by a perpetrator who is in a position of power over you, it is very difficult to speak up," one of them said. "You do not know if you will be listened to, if you will be believed, what the personal and professional consequences will be if you speak."

They called it "a personal victory for each of us that we dared to speak up," adding that the fact that the court listened is an important second victory. "That Fabre will be stopped in his harmful pattern and will no longer be allowed to make victims is a third victory."

Fabre's lawyer, Eline Tritsmans, told VRT that while the artist has always maintained his innocence, he has accepted the verdict. "To appeal would mean that the whole controversy surrounding the person of Jan Fabre would lead to a second life, and he would rather not see that happen."

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