The Brussels Court of Appeal sentence six men to between 6 and 8 years in prison for raping a young woman and posting evidence of their crime onto the social network Snapchat.
The crime occurred on 31 October 2022, in an apartment in the Brussels municipality of Forest rented by the attackers through an online rental platform.
The victim, aged 23-years-old, presented herself to police in Asse on 4 November 2022 claiming to have been raped by several individuals, who had posted images of the assault on social media. She explained that she had been invited by one of her friends to a party in the apartment, at which several men and two other women were present.
The victim was forced by her male friend to inhale nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, as well as to consume ecstasy. She was then raped by the friend in the bathroom of the property, and then in the living room of the property, while she was almost unconscious. Five other young men present at the apartment also raped her in turn.
The gang rape was filmed by one of the perpetrators. He then posted the footage to Snapchat in the form of several videos. The Snapchat application allows users to send photos and videos that disappear as soon as they are viewed by the recipient.
According to the police, various recipients of the abuse had saved the footage, which was later handed over to the police.
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In 2021, there were at least 193 victims of sexual violence each month, and the Care Centres after Sexual Violence (Zorgcentra na Seksueel Geweld) now warns that victims are increasingly young. In Belgium, one in five women and one in twenty men will experience rape in their lifetime.
If you have experienced sexual violence and wish to receive support, visit the Stop Geweld website for a phone number to call or an anonymous web chat help in English, French, Dutch, or German. Alternatively, report the abuse directly to the local police.