Film student uncovers reality of street harassment in Brussels
A Brussels film student has made a film highlighting the extent to which women are subjected to sexual harassment on the streets of Belgium.
Tired of being whistled at, cat-called and propositioned for sex, film student Sofie Peeter used a hidden camera to record real-life instances of men harassing women in the street.
Peeter also interviewed women about their experiences of male harassment.
Responses included: “Walking down the street as a woman, you know that the street doesn’t belong to you” and “I do take it seriously, I am scared. I change the way I dress, the way I walk”.
The documentary, called ‘Femme de la Rue’, was also shown on Belgian TV and prompted a massive response on Twitter, with many women saying they had had similar experiences.
The problem of male street harassment against women is being highlighted by groups such as Hollaback which encourage women to speak out via the internet.
Hollaback’s website says that: “Street harassment teaches us to be silent, that taking action will only escalate the situation [but] … We believe that by continuing to tell and map these stories, our voices will chip away at a culture that makes gender-based violence OK”.
Peeter echoes this sentiment, saying she made the film to let other women know they are not alone.
Belgian politicians responded by saying they are considering tougher legislation against sexual harassment.