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Belgium Documentary: “Femme de la rue”

In street harassment | on 07.27.12 | by | Comments ( 7 )

College student Sofie Peeters decided to focus her thesis on sexism in the streets of Brussels (AKA street harassment) and created a documentary about it. Here is a preview of it, Femme de la rue.

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7 Responses


great trailer. What a good project. Hope I can see the documentary.


Did anyone else notice that almost all the guys in this trailer are from BME (black/minority ethnic) groups? With the reference to ‘culturally enriched’ Brussels at the start of the clip, isn’t there an undertone of racism here?



Racism? When did stating an ugly truth become racism?

I first visited Brussels 20 years ago and found it to be a lovely, safe and civilised city. My second visit was last year when I organised my company’s annual business-planning conference in then city. After day of hard work, we all dressed up to go out and celebrate. The females in our party were harassed from the moment we left the hotel and the harassment continued for the entire night. The perpetrators were often rude, aggressive, insulting and most often in groups which made it more scary and intimidating. In EVERY case the groups were of men who appeared to be of a Middle-Eastern or North-African background. I will NEVER return to Brussels, it has changed.

I am ethnic-Iranian with a Muslim family background and I should stress that not everyone from the Middle East is ignorant or sexist. However, the unfortunate fact is that too many are, especially those from poor and uneducated Muslim families where misogyny and REAL racist attitudes against ‘dirty’ Western women are rife. Europeans must understand that you cannot allow people from culturally sexist and ignorant societies behave in this way in your countries. Don’t be culturally sensitive – these people don’t understand nor ‘respect’ cultural sensitivity. Fines are a start, but at the end of the day you must be firm, confident and assertive about your culture and values whilst understanding that it is not ‘racist’ to recognise that there are religious / cultural / ethnic groups out there who don’t share those values and hold attitudes that must be acknowledged, highlighted and condemned in the strongest possible terms.


Just because they are from BME it gives them the right to tell such things ?
And obviously she lives in a neighborhood where majority of people are from BME, which I guess enhance the chance to cross them in the street, no ?

The purpose here is not to demonstrate violence against women in brusselian BME communities, it is to show how “unconvenient” it is to be a woman when you need to walk down the street ! And it’s a shame, because it happens quite a lot !

Suspicion of racism is the best way to avoid real discussion right now, which is : is it endurable to be treated like this just because your a woman ? And if we don’t fight against this, through this kind of initiative for instance, is that what we want for our daughters ?

We are woman and we have a responsability here : preserve the right our mothers and grand mothers fought for. And obviously, they are in danger.



Having lived in Brussels for 10 years, I suggest you spend a while walking around the centre of Brussels. The reason the guys in this trailers are BME is that this group provides the vast majority of the abuse towards women. As a man I may not be the recipient, but see the comments and indeed hands directed at women on a regular basis.

In any case, considering that that the men in this video consider a young ,white woman in a skirt fair game, doesn’t their behaviour, by your logic, also display racist behaviour on their part?


I am so glad Sofie Peeters did a movie about this issue. As a woman, you get so often molested on public places that you start thinking this must be normal!
And to the issue with BME groups:
Last winter I was on my way to work. I was dressed up with a kneelong, black coat, scarf, gloves, cap, wide trousers and flat shoes. I was locking completely unsexual! But this BME man came up to me and sat only one word “whore”.
Being discriminated for BEING a woman, should not be accepted in Europe! Thx for this movie ur Comments


Thank you for making this documentary. I am old enough not to be harrassed anymore but I swear I experienced the same. Only 20 – 30 years ago and in the middle of Germany. It began when I was 12 (I was looking a bit older) and since then I build an aversion against Arabic men. Because it was them in 90 percent of the cases that harrassed me, only sometimes men from Russia or Poland. It was worst in public baths but also on the street. No-one ever called me a whore but they talked to me in dirty ways and even touched me while passing by. Disgusting.

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