The Secretary of State for Equal Chances of the Brussels Region, Bianca Debaets, and the “Touche pas à Ma Pote,” [Don’t Touch My Pal] non-profit organization announced on Monday that they would soon launch an application against sexual harassment in the streets. Victims and witnesses will be able to report cases of sexual harassment through the app.
The new mechanism was inspired by Handsaway, a French app “against ordinary sexism”. After an attack or sexual harassment, the victim can alert the authorities through geolocation and provide information on the attack. Witnesses connected via the app can also give their testimonies and provide help for the victims.
Thanks to the new app, the problem of street harassment can be better understood and solidarity strengthened by offering a platform for witnesses to contribute their accounts. A survey shows that 30% of women have already been victims of street violence and no fewer than 60% of them have been subjected to harassment on the street.
“Many women are still harassed, intimidated or offended on our streets,” Mrs Debaets said. “There’s too little respect for women, and many of them tend to minimize things because they often feel powerless in these situations”.
The app is being launched together with a communication campaign. It aims to attract 6,000 users for starters.
Debaets and equal,brussels had already launched the “Point-out-Violence” awareness campaign to encourage the victims of harassment to report to the police. In 2016, the Brussels police had also run training sessions on fighting the phenomenon.
Since the app is still being developed, its name and the date of issue have not yet been released.