‘We went for one more drink and finally over in the bar. Later we don’t know anything until we each woke up in an unknown apartment with an unknown man, while we were being raped. The bar removed the video footage below I filed a complaint.”
“One of the bartenders put GHB in my drink. Fortunately, a friend was with me, who took me home. He already had my phone and stolen it.”
“I celebrated my eighteenth birthday. When I even went into the bar to get a forgotten scarf, he tried to kiss one of the bartenders and pulled out his penis. When I informed the manager he said he would attack the person in question. But I hadn’t quite described who it was yet.”
The Brussels catering industry is under fire after a series of testimonials that have been circulating on social media for more than a week. The above and other stories of women who say they have been abused in various Brussels cafes are collected on the Instagram page @balance_ton_bar, which was founded a few days ago.
The account’s name originates from hashtags that have been circulating since the #MeToo movement, such as “Balance to porc.” ‘Balance ton bar’ concerns bars where women are drugged and, in cases of rape, are assaulted. And for bar staff who would be involved, or who intervened insufficiently.
The testimonies came loose when a number of women took to social media last week that they had been drugged and raped by a bartender from the bars Waff and El Café. Both cafes are under the same owner and are located in the student area of the Brussels municipality of Ixelles. According to Belgian media, there are no complaints from one of the bars, but transferred to the other cafe by his employer. Meanwhile, about twenty women have released themselves as victims of the bartender in those same two bars – years ago. The Brussels public prosecutor’s office is currently investigating the allegations.
We went for one more drink and were the last ones left, after that we don’t know anything anymore
The Brussels Maïté, who is behind the Instagram page and appears in the media without being recorded, wrote on her page at the launch: “Unfortunately, the assaults and rapes in the student neighborhood are not existing facts. If you like your story the victim will share, then don’t testify.” According to her, she has received hundreds of reports about various popular Brussels bars, including outside student areas. It concerns both stories in which the bar staff themselves are involved, as well as stories in which customers will drug the women. Maïté told the Brussels broadcaster BX1 that it was heard high: “I want it not to be about a few bad experiences here and there, but about a lot of people who have experienced something successful. This is a system issue that needs to be resolved.”
Also read: Large protest march in Brussels for safer nightlife
on social media says bar Waff to take the situation ‘very seriously’ and to have the employee in question temporarily inactive. The mayor of Ixelles says he is working on a plan to improve his municipality to make it more female-friendly. he also expands the local catering industry. As well as the mayor of Brussels also has to report to the police. The prosecutor’s office says that it has received “several declarations” when asked, but cannot go into more detail.
The Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs and the State Secretary for Gender Equality are according to The standard Wednesday and plan to accelerate a number of measures against sexual violence. It concerns measures to absorb better and to encourage action. In this way they hope to reduce the large difference between the number of testimonials on the internet and the number of actual differences.
86 percent of women in Brussels have experienced some form of sexual harassment at some point, according to research by Equal.Brussels – from inappropriate questions to unwanted touches. Last week, more than a thousand people took to the streets to protest against insecurity in the Brussels nightlife. Another demonstration was planned for Thursday evening.