In Belgian cities, the majority of women and girls have been sexually harassed on the street. According to the sources, the police in Liège used a novel strategy to apprehend criminals, which has resulted in 51 reports thus far.
In summary, the strategy involves female police officers touring the streets in the civilian dress while being trailed by male colleagues until they encounter inappropriate statements or actions. Then their male colleagues step in.
Because of the success of the operation, the method is set to be copied in other Belgian cities, including Ghent, Brussels and Namur.
Moreover, street harassment is an ongoing issue in Liège, Belgium. A Plan International survey from 2019 showed that 91 per cent of 3,000 women and girls polled have been subject to sexual harassment, but only 6 per cent filed a complaint.
Belgium launched an awareness campaign which seeks to encourage women to file more complaints and to let witnesses know how they can intervene if they see sexual harassment on the street. However, it has proved not to be enough, so new tools are needed to combat harassment.
Street harassment makes women feel unsafe in public spaces, yet experiences of street harassment & abuse “continue to be covered up, diminished, ignored, or normalized”, one UN report stated.
Furthermore, another UN study focused on negative notions of masculinity. “Sexual harassment is almost considered a natural part of male behavior, and we need to transform the notion that it’s natural,” said Safe Cities UN Coordinator Yeliz Osman.