The law criminalising sexist behaviour arose out of a widespread social debate in Belgium in 2012. It showed a woman being insulted and receiving unsolicited proposals and hisses as she walked in Brussels. Under the law, any behaviour expressing “contempt towards a person, because of their sexuality” or treating a person as “inferior or as reduced essentially to their sexual dimension“, which entails a serious attack on their dignity is punishable by up to a year in prison and/or a fine.
Since 2012, there was an idea in the minds of many that this law (even though was progressive in nature) was there in place only in order to condemn sexism in black and white and it was widely thought that it will not be possible to treat sexism as a crime for practical purposes.
Disproving all the (mis)conceptions, a man has been convicted of sexism in a public place for the first time. A court in Brussels fined him €3,000 for insulting a police officer because of her gender. The case involved a driver who was stopped for breaking the highway code. The young man – who has not been identified – insulted the police officer because of her gender, the court heard. He was reported to have said she would be better off doing a job “adapted to women”, in a scene witnessed by several other people.
Professional women and women from all walks of life often face degrading behaviour and treatment only on account of their sex and the same is condemnable. The new law in Belgium and the application of the same widen a new domain in the persisting gender based legal discourse and narratives.
Compiled by Law Desk (SOURCE: INDEPENDENT.CO.UK).