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Sexist Convicted for Sexism

Illustration for article titled Sexist Convicted for Sexism
Image: via AP

A Belgian man has been convicted under a new law prohibiting “sexism in the public space,” after he allegedly told a police officer trying to arrest him for jaywalking, “Shut your mouth, I don’t talk to women, being a police officer is not a job for women.”

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The New York Times reported that it was the first conviction under a 2014 law, which expanded an earlier statute against discrimination generally:

Sexism, according to the law, is defined as “every gesture or deed” that is “clearly meant to express contempt of a person based on sex,” or considers a person inferior based on sex, or reduces a person solely to a sexual dimension, and which “gravely affects the dignity of that person as a result.” Violation of the law can lead to a prison sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to €10,000.

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It apparently happened back it November, but didn’t get picked up until recently and began to draw a lot of media attention in the wake of #MeToo. The details of the incident are really something:

On June 6, 2016, a police officer on a routine patrol saw the defendant, who was then 23, cross a street against a traffic light in Zaventem, a town outside Brussels, according to court documents. When the officer tried to stop him for questioning, he fled and officers chased him on foot, finally catching him in the middle of a local annual fair.

Although several police officers were present, the man only insulted the female officer. “The case was easy to prosecute,” said Mr. Blondeau, as the arrest and the abuses happened in a very public space “with several bystanders serving as witnesses.”

Worst Law and Order episode ever.

Senior Editor, Attic Haunter, Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

I work in a municipally owned building, and when it first opened, within days we had our first complaint about our (fully accessible) elevators, because the voice that tells you what floor you are approaching (“Second floor, going up”) is a female voice. A computerized female voice. Not even a real person.

The man who complained said that he would prefer to hear a male voice - I am not making this up - and, as we had both an east and a west elevator, we should change at least one of them to ensure that our patrons would have a choice between male and female voices. Because not everybody likes being told what to do by a computerized female.

The (largely female) staff’s response, in unison: TAKE THE DAMN STAIRS.