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Well, yesterday it happened again. I have suffered AGAIN a degrading, aggressive and menacing treatment from the men of my neighborhood, Molenbeek. During the last 18 months, I experienced at least four serious incidents although, as many girls in Brussels, every day I have to bear all kinds of comments and noises when I have the pretension to go in or out.
Yesterday my roommate and I wanted to go for a bike ride. When my roommate opened the door, she found a young man she knew, a boy with a cap: “oh, here you are, dirty bitch”. Some days ago my roommate (a lady who could be his mother) was riding her bike when this very boy said the traditional “you are beautiful”. My roommate ignored him, and he started to call her “dirty bitch” and other related adjectives. Yesterday the boy recognized her and he started to insult and threaten us saying that “our building was not safe anymore”. We entered again home and my roommate called the police saying that a very aggressive man had threatened us in front of our door, but the police did not come.
Some minutes later, we decided to go out. In the corner of the street there were, as usual, big groups of men staring at us. We did not feel very safe, so my roommate asked a young man from a garage next door to go with us to the corner. Meanwhile, I waited leaning on the door. Then the same man with the cap appeared with two more friends heading for a car. The guy with the cap said “have a nice evening” and I replied “have a nice evening too”. Then they started to say “you are beautiful” again, and several things I did not understand. I speak good French but I do not understand some expressions and accents, although I understand the attitude and the tone.
I was really angry. I took out my notebook and pen and I wrote down the car’s registration number. Immediately the three boys came to me shouting “What are you doing? What are you writing down?”. They surrounded me, they shouted at me ten centimeters from my face, and one grabbed my notebook and broke the cover. My roommate came with the man of the garage, and he almost came to blows with one of the boys.
Then I called the police, and two police vans arrived. When they saw the amount of men in the street, they asked for reinforcements. Only the car’s owner was still there, the other two, including the boy with the cap, had run away. The car’s owner shouted at the policed, saying that he was innocent, that he did not know the boy with the cap, that the only thing he had done was to say that I was beautiful, that he must say those things to the girls, otherwise “how was he going to get married”, that I was a liar and a paranoiac, etc… When the police released him, he shouted at me from a certain distance: “now we know each other, now we are real neighbors”.
A policeman asked to me what did I want to do, and I replied I wanted to report the thing. He said I could do it, but there were not going to be any follow-up, since the threatening man had run away. I said I would do it anyway.
The street was full of men. The police told us to enter home and stay there. I got locked in my house, while my harassers are free in the street.
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