Nationwide demonstrations on Sunday to demand an end to gender-based violence

Nationwide demonstrations on Sunday to demand an end to gender-based violence
Credit: Belga

Over 100 civil society organisations united under the Mirabal platform are calling for demonstrations in the streets of Brussels and other Belgian towns on Sunday to demand an end to all forms of violence against women.

Mirabal was created in 2017 to mobilise women against violence targeting them. It organises protests in Brussels each year around the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - 25 November.

This year, about 5,000 persons are expected at a rally to be held from 2 p.m. on Sunday at Brussels-Central station, while a community village will be set up at the Mont des Arts from noon onwards.

Four pillars of demands have been established: battling violence against women and gender-based violence, acknowledging ‘vulnerable’ women, countering the devaluation of ‘female’ professions still deemed vital, and sexual and reproductive health issues.

While Mirabal notes progress over the past four years, including the reform of the sexual penal code, the Stop Feminicides law, and a national action plan against gender-based violence, it acknowledges that the fight is not yet over.

The 24 femicides recorded so far this year are a grim reminder of persisting violence, according to the Stop Feminicides blog.

Mirabal is calling for the full implementation of the legal mechanisms established in recent years to combat sexual and sexist violence. It also demands a greater focus on intersecting discriminations - the varying forms of discrimination an individual may experience due to their gender, race, class, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.

Mirabal also highlights economic violence as women disproportionately find themselves in less valued, lower-paid sectors than men. It demands a revaluation of these essential,  predominantly female-led professions in areas such as healthcare, education and early childhood. The hardships in these typically female occupations must be recognised, the platform insists.

Regarding workplace violence and harassment, Mirabal demands an update to existing legislation to introduce a zero-tolerance approach across-the-board. It also advocates the termination of the cohabitant status, i.e. taking the household's situation into account when calculating allowances such social welfare, unemployment and disability.

In terms of sexual and reproductive health, Mirabal wants the term limit for abortions to be extended at least to the 18th week of pregnancy, and is also pressing for the removal of the six-day reflection period.

Concerning gynaecological and obstetric violence, it stresses the necessity of obtaining the individual's consent before any medical procedures and warns against performing unnecessary medical interventions.

Copyright © 2024 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.