Belgium in Brief: Balance ton bar?

Belgium in Brief: Balance ton bar?
Credit: Belga

96% of people who go out in the Cimetière d’Ixelles area, a popular nightlife area for many of the city’s students, have witnessed at least one instance of gender-based violence or sexual harassment.

In October 2021, the area came under fire as numerous bars were accused by the #BalanceTonBar movement of being the location of a number of sexual offences, the most serious of which was the accusation of bartenders drugging women.

Over 1,000 people took to the streets of Ixelles to protest, prompting the commune to conduct an audit on the perception of their nightlife before deciding which measures to implement in these bars.

The findings of this investigation, which The Brussels Times was able to access, show that nearly all respondents had witnessed sexual harassment at least once, the majority (53%) experienced sexual harassment or assault themselves, and 28.7% had been subjected to it on multiple occasions.

Additionally, 15% of respondents had been drugged without their knowledge and 11.9% had been a victim of sexual assault. Strikingly, the report also showed that 90% of those surveyed would rather turn to their friends than to the relevant authorities, and only 36% of respondents would contact the police.

All in all, only 28% felt they didn’t have to be vigilant when visiting these bars, and only 12% of them feel safer since the #BalanceTonBar movement gained traction last October.

Seems like there's a lot of work to be done. Let @Maajtee know how you feel about it.

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