Tuesday, 21 January 2014

How The Brussels Police Cared About The Assault Done On Jonatas Baptista

The Hollaback! Brussels team was alerted through facebook about an act of horrendous homophobic violence and injustice. Jonatas Baptista bravely related the story of what happened to him and his boyfriend. We contacted him and asked if we could share his story on our site as well, these are his words:

You think two boys can freely hold hands in the centre of Brussels, the capital of the second country in the world that made same-sex marriage legal? You are WRONG.

It is in the main square of Brussels that you get insulted for holding each others’ hands by two straight men walking freely, holding their girlfriends’ hands, and get beaten by them until your face is bleeding. It is not even midnight yet, plenty of people are walking around.
It happened at the Grand Place in Brussels around 11.40. I was having a drink with other two friends and we left the place to pick something that I had forgotten in another place. A group of 2 guys with their 2 girlfriends saw us holding hands right in front of the Christmas tree and yelled “fucking faggots” at us and as we walked I said to my boyfriend “what is the problem?”

And as soon as I realized, one of them was pulling my shoulder and got ready to punch me. He punched me twice as their girlfriends laughed really loud at us, and my glasses broke into pieces, my boyfriend got punched once and ran to get the police who were standing about 20 meters from us.

The guys who aggressed us ran, I was still looking for my glasses when the police came. We tried to explain what happened and that they should get the guys and the police literally replied with these words: “if you don’t shut up I’ll be the next to punch your face”.
After we explained the situation the police said “sorry, we have more stuff to do”.

So we politely asked for their names, since it is our right and we were outraged and the whole situation and specially by the way the cops managed it. They refused to give their names.

They do not offer any help, even if they see the blood dripping from your face onto your clothes, the broken glasses… Instead of offering to take you to the hospital, or try and look for the aggressors that ran away barely a minute ago, they just tell you that you should hold your nerves and go get a certificate from the hospital by yourself, because that is “the procedure”. You are made to feel as if you were a criminal yourself, not a victim of a hideous crime.

My boyfriend and I went to the nearest police station, we related the incident, explained what the cops did, they said there are 1200 police men in Brussels at that time and there’s nothing they could do. We filled in a paper and went home.

Author / Source: Jonatas Baptista at Hollaback! Brussels
[Version Française]