It was a Friday evening last month when Carla – we won’t give her full name - noticed she was being followed on her way home through the Jubel Park in Brussels. Carla stopped to let the guy pass, but was seized and quickly realised her attacker was about to rape her. She immediately started running to escape. Fortunately, she succeeded.
The following day Carla reports the assault to her local police station where she hears she is not the first to have such an experience. To her horror she also learns the police are doing very little to prevent any repeat.
Carla isn’t the kind of woman to accept a situation like this and immediately launched a petition calling for greater action. It has now collected no fewer than 9,500 signatures. Both Philippe Close (Francophone socialist) and Vincent De Wolf (Francophone liberal), the Mayors of the City of Brussels and Etterbeek, have now been sparked to action and have promised to invest in greater safety in and around the Jubel Park.
“It’s intolerable that women should feel unsafe in the heart of the capital” say the two mayors in chorus. “We urge them to report incidents and file a complaint. Extra measures are now being put in place to improve security in the Jubel Park.”
Police say there were at least four attempted assaults in the park over the past two years, though the real number may be much higher. They too urge both women and men to report incidents of sexual assault.