The full extent of violence against women is difficult to estimate because it is still underreported and stigmatized. This means that the reported cases are only a fraction of the reality.

It is estimated that 43% of women in Belgium have experienced violence, a rate 3% higher than the EU average. 24 % of women have experienced sexual harassment and stalking.

Although there is no specific law for violence against women in Belgium, many forms of violence against women are criminalized, including intimate partner violence, sexual violence and rape. Stalking is also criminalized (including in the case of electronic communication) and forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) are also illegal.

The various national action plans to combat all forms of gender-based violence hasn’t provided an integrated approach to gender-based violence nor combats violence efficiently in intimate partner relationships. There’s almost no effect on the rates of honor-related or sexual violence.

That’s why we’re planning new self-defense classes. These proved to be very efficient in the past and are now being repeated due to the high demand for them. Prevention through awareness-raising actions and education is the best way to tackle the violence ourselves. The best measures to support and protect victims are the ones we take ourselves!

Marianne Van den Lemmer will give the lessons in the Sports Room in the Fort van Merksem (Fortsteenweg 120, 2170 Antwerp -Merksem).

Marianne is a recently retired police officer specializing in self-defense techniques for women. She will explain some very useful self-defense techniques and guide us to be able to perform them when necessary… and it is necessary!

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