A gay man in Belgium who was knocked to the ground by a man yelling homophobic slurs last week is now too afraid to report the crime to police. The man, identified only as Eric, told the French LGBTQ+ magazine TÊTU he was attacked while walking in the city of Charleroi in broad daylight Friday afternoon by a man who came up and punched him in the face without warning. But based upon his past experience with unhelpful police, he’s too scared to report the crime to the authorities.
“I have never been attacked by someone that I didn’t know, but now I know that Charleroi isn’t the land of Care Bears,” Eric said, noting he never had trouble with bigots when he lived in Brussels.
Eric said he was walking home on a public street when the attack occurred Friday afternoon. Just before he reached his home, a man walked up to him and screamed “big dirty faggot.” Eric turned to face the man, who then punched him across his head, knocking him to the ground. The bigot then ran away while Eric lay on the ground.
“I was afraid to get glass in my eyes,” he remembered, fearing that the assault may have broken his eyeglasses.
He quickly regained his composure and ran home, locking the door behind him. He wrote of his ordeal on social media, then spent the rest of the night injured and afraid. His doctor told him to take the week off from work and see a neurologist for further examination.
Due to past experiences with unhelpful and homophobic police, Eric is afraid to go to them for help now. Six years earlier he had been in an abusive relationship with his ex-boyfriend. When he tried to report the abuse to the police, they told him “you’ve got a pretty faggot face” and refused to help with his “faggot problem.”
Eric revealed he even “went above their heads” to speak with the cops’ supervisors, but they were no help and instead warned him to “watch out” because the police “will never come to help you again” if he filed a complaint.
Rather than “take the risk of being insulted again” Eric will suffer without help from the authorities.
“That’s why I don’t believe in Belgian justice,” he said.