Nearly 9 out of 10 women in Brussels have experienced some form of sexual harassment, according to a new study by the University of Ghent.
According to the study, 88 percent of women surveyed reported experiencing sexual harassment in the streets of the Belgian capital. Half of the respondents said they had faced physical violence, Dutch-speaking media De Tijd reported Tuesday.
One in three women surveyed reported to still be struggling with the aftermath of harassment or assault, De Tijd said.
“There is too little respect for women,” said Brussels State Secretary for Equal Opportunities Bianca Debaets, who requested the survey. “If women on the streets are being shouted at using sexual insults, that is no small crime,” she added.
Debaets, who also spearheaded a campaign to encourage women to file reports with the police, is planning to introduce an app called “HandsAway Brussels” in March. The app will allow victims, as well as witnesses, to report on instances of harassment or assault and provide information about the time and location they took place. A similar app is already in use in France.
Debaets also suggested using female decoys to catch harassers. “Why are we not deploying decoy-women to catch and punish perpetrators?” she asked. “This works in the Netherlands, why not also in Brussels?”