Facebook Twitter Google+ Wordpress YouTube RSS Channel Newsletters

Women Can, Women Act, Women Change!




First conviction under sexism law for Belgian who insulted officer

Category: Gender in the world 

A man who verbally abused a female police officer has become the first person to be convicted in Belgium under a law that criminalises sexism in a public place.


A fine of €3,000 (£2,700) was handed down by a Brussels criminal court over remarks made by a man pulled over by an officer for a violation of the highway code. He was warned that a failure to pay would lead to a month in prison. The man has not been named.


The law against sexism in a public place was put on the Belgian statute books in 2014 following an outcry over a documentary that exposed the abuse faced by women on the streets of Brussels.


Shot with the use of hidden cameras, Femme de la Rue, directed by a film student, Sofie Peeters, offered a stark account of everyday sexism and sexual intimidation in the Belgian capital, including continuous catcalls, wolf whistles, and jeering.


The film led to calls for action, although laws were already in place criminalising insults, stalking, harassment and public nuisance.


The subsequent bill defined sexism as a remark or action that is “intended to express contempt”, suggests someone is inferior due to their gender or is designed to “reduce someone to his or her sexual dimension”.

The crime is prosecutable if there has been a “violation of someone’s dignity”.


The legislation had been criticised in some quarters as there is no parallel protection against racism, although it is criminal to incite racial hatred and violence. It was further claimed that the definition was too broad and posed a threat to freedom of speech.


According to the Belgian daily newspaper Le Soir, the incident that led to the first conviction took place in June 2016, when during an arrest, an unnamed young man insulted the police officer due to her gender.


He was convicted of a “serious violation of the dignity of the person because of her sex”, and the use of threats.


Gilles Blondeau, the spokesman of the public prosecutor’s office for the district of Halle Vilvoorde, said: “This is the first time we have used this law to prosecute someone. It is quite common for people arrested by the police to insult and threaten. But to personally blame a policewoman because of her sex is special. It was a good case to test this law: a concrete and very clear case, with many witnesses.”




Tags: Belgium sexism

Previous Page 




Beyond the Shelter

The youth exhibitions and installations

Women’s Fund in Georgia is honored to invite you to 2016 Kato Mikeladze Award Ceremony


Video archive

Research on Youth Views on Gender Equality


Gender policy

Three women vie to become next Paris mayor

With a nod from parliament, Greece gets first female president

Barack Obama: Women are better leaders than men


Photo archive

Swedish politicians visit in WIC



To end slavery, free 10,000 people a day for a decade, report says

Interpol rescues 85 children in Sudan trafficking ring

Mother Teresa India charity 'sold babies'


Hot Line

Tel.: 116 006

Consultation Hotline for victims of domestic violence

Tel.: 2 100 229

Consultation Hotline for victims of human trafficking

Tel.: 2 26 16 27

Hotline Anti-violence Network of Georgia (NGO)

ფემიციდი - ქალთა მიმართ ძალადობის მონიტორინგი
eXTReMe Tracker