For the first time ever, Belgium authorities have convicted a person for displaying “sexism” in public.
The man — who remains anonymous for privacy reasons — was fined $3,725 and faces possible prison time if he does not pay. After the man was pulled aside in Belgium for jaywalking, he told a female police officer, “Shut your mouth, I don’t talk to women, being a police officer is not a job for women,” reported The New York Times on Tuesday.
The officer stopped and arrested him in June and the man was charged in November with sexism, slander and threatening a police officer, according to the public prosecutor’s office spokesperson Gilles Blondeau. He must now pay 3,000 euros or $3,725, but did not show up for court.
No person in Belgium has ever been officially convicted of “sexism.”
The man claims the officer discriminated against him because he had dark skin, according to Blondeau.
The arrest comes after Belgium passed a sexism law in 2014 following the release of “Femme de la rue” documentary that inspired a reactionary force against displays of sexism, similar to America’s current #MeToo movement. (RELATED: Clinton: Misogyny And Sexism Played A Role In Trump’s Campaign)
The law defines sexism as “every gesture or deed .. clearly meant to express contempt of a person based on sex,” the NYT reported. Perpetrators can be fined up to 10,000 euros and spend as long as a year behind bars.
“Female personnel are integrated in all services, departments and ranks of the police,” spokeswoman for the Belgian federal police Sandra Eyschen said. Eyschen maintains that more than 30 percent of Belgium’s 40,000 police officers are female.
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