Belgian organizations protest spike in violence against women

According to a recent report by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE),  partner violence in families has shot up during the COVID-19 pandemic. 18 femicides have been recorded in Belgium since the beginning of 2021

November 30, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Women's March - Belgium

On Sunday, November 28, women’s right groups and other progressive sections in Belgium marched in the capital Brussels and other major cities to protest the spike in violence against women in the country. They demanded that the federal government speed up the implementation of the national action plan against gender-based violence. The call for the mobilization was given by the Mirabal Platform in Belgium. The march saw the participation of various groups, including Marianne, RedFox, Comac and the Young Communists of Belgium, as well as political parties like the Workers Party of Belgium (PTB/PVDA) and the Communist Party of Belgium (PCB/CPB). On November 25, progressive sections across the world marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Belgium adopted a national action plan for the Fight against Gender-Based Violence on November 27. The plan reportedly includes more than 200 measures and will be implemented at all levels of government. In this regard, the PTB/PVDA stated that “they had to wait for more than a year for the government’s national action plan against gender violence, released yesterday. Now is the time to move to higher speed. …can’t wait another year for it to be put into practice.” 

The PTB and its women’s front Marianne demanded the opening of care centers for victims of sexual violence with greater speed, including an additional center in Brussels in the student district of Ixelles.

According to a recent report by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE),  partner violence in families has shot up during the COVID-19 pandemic. 18 femicides have been recorded in Belgium since the beginning of 2021.

The Mirabal Platform urged the Belgian government to fully assume its responsibility in the fight against violence against women. “Thanks to feminist mobilization, something is moving. But not fast enough, not strong enough, not for everyone and not always in the right direction to see the violence that still violates rights and destroys the lives of millions of women in Belgium and elsewhere actually decrease. We can’t wait any longer!” the group said

The Mirabal Platform was formed by civil society organizations in 2017 in honor of the three Mirabal sisters from the Dominican Republic. The Mirabal sisters (Patria Mirabal Reyes, Minerva Mirabal Reyes, and María Teresa Mirabal Reyes) had opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo (1934 – 1961) and were involved in the resistance against his regime. The three were assassinated on November 25, 1960 by Trujillo’s henchmen. The Mirabal sisters continue to be widely regarded as symbols of both popular and feminist resistance. In their honor, the United Nations General Assembly designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in 1999.

The PCB/CPB stated that “violence against women – both during the pandemic period, before or after – is not only limited to sexual assault, sexual, physical, verbal, psychological abuse, rape, femicides, genital mutilations only at the intra-family or marital level but also in the world of work or in the capitalist society.”

“Our struggle for the liberation of our class and especially working women is daily, as violence is daily and maintained by the capitalist society and state. We fight the bourgeois policies that destroy women’s lives, the intensity of employer violence and the state that keeps them in poverty and precariousness even while working,” the party added.

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