Student testifies after sexual assault in Parc du Cinquantenaire

Student testifies after sexual assault in Parc du Cinquantenaire
The woman said the man tried to cover her mouth and managed to put his hand in her pants. Credit: Google Street View

A woman in Brussels has filed a complaint after an unidentified man attempted to sexually assault her while she was jogging in Parc du Cinquantenaire at the start of the week.

The woman, a law student identified as Ilona, said she was doing her usual jog in the park at around 7:30 A.M. on Monday when a man jumped in front of her.

"He blocked the way so I could no longer move, he tried to put his hand on my mouth," Ilona said, in an interview with BX1, where she returned to the park to explain how her aggression had taken place.

"I immediately understood what would happen if I didn't react, so I fought back like crazy," she said, describing how she screamed and kicked her attacker as he attempted to take her pants off.

"It lasted several seconds, he managed to put his hand in my pants, he tried to take off my pants but they were pretty tight so he didn't succeed to pull them down entirely," she added.

Ilona said she went to the police station to file a complaint after the attack, telling the outlet she was afraid of about not being believed or taken seriously by police.

"What I was most afraid of was... I've read of cases where police don't take a woman who's been sexually assaulted seriously —where, if it's the evening, they note how she was dressed or whether she had something to drink... that's what I was most worried about," she said.

In the end, the Brussels student said the officer who received her complaint was "very professional" and that they were trained to handle sexual assault complaints, adding that more victims needed to come forward about such aggressions.

"It's by speaking up that we will make these kinds of aggressions even more visible, and that we will realise of the importance of responding to them in a more effective way," Ilona said.

A spokesperson with the Brussels-Ixelles police zone said she could not immediately confirm whether the victim had filed a complaint in a station belonging to their police zone.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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