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Sex assault allegations darken festival weekend

Festival goers are turned away at Vistiville © Belga

The first of the summer festival weekends was supposed to be a feast of sunshine and music. Instead, visitors to one were turned away before the event had started, while two serious allegations of sexual assault darkened the party atmosphere.

A British woman in Belgium for the Vistiville festival, which was cancelled on Friday, has filed a complaint of rape, to the police in Mol in Limburg. The attack took place in a SunParks holiday bungalow where many of the festival-goers had planned to hold a party.

According to local police commissioner Robert Lehaen speaking to De Morgen, police at present have no trace of a lead in finding the attacker. The victim, in her twenties, was able to give police a good description, but there is little chance of making an identification, he said.

“There was a lot of festival noise in the park, and a lot of alcohol was flowing. That makes it hard to figure out who was behind this.”

Meanwhile, at Rock Werchter close to Leuven, Belgium’s flagship summer festival, another woman has reported a sexual assault on the night of Thursday to Friday on the margins of the festival.

Leuven police are investigating, but again have little to go on.

At her own request, the woman has not so far been interviewed,” said prosecutor’s office spokesperson Sarah Callewaert. “That will take place in a few days. So, for the time being, we still do not know exactly what happened. But the case does concern an alleged sexual assault, and not a rape.” The age of the victim is also not known.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times