Keep breaking the silence

By Jeff Mannes Switch to German for original article

In March, a teacher was suspended from the LCD, the Diekirch Lyceum, due in part to sexual harassment. Allegations are said to have been going on for eight years. This once again raises the question of how things stand in Luxembourg with regard to the problem of sexual harassment, sexualised violence and #MeToo. We talked to two women and one man.

Trigger warning: Rape, sexual abuse, violence.

"En Geste gewisen, wei grouss Brëscht ech hätt, " reads the sidewalk in Remich, "Je vais bien te détruire ta chatte" and "Wow, déi Nennen" in Luxembourg City. The Instagram account Cat calls of Luxembourg collects stories of people who have had experiences of harassment on the open street and draws them on the ground with chalk. "I sometimes don't put on the clothes I want and would feel comfortable in during the summer for fear of how some men might react, " reports Marie*, a young woman. "And even though I consciously know that victims of sexual harassment are not complicit, I still subconsciously internalized that sense of my own complicity through my experiences."

Fifteen years after the phrase "Me Too" was first used in the context of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and three and a half years after the "#MeToo" movement began, the issue is more relevant than ever. This became clear at the latest with the suspension of a teacher at the LCD, after not only students published their accusations on social media, but it became known afterwards that there had been similar accusations against the teacher for years – without anything happening. "Questionable late-night messages have already been reported by students who left the high school more than eight years ago, " the "Lëtzebuerger Journal" reported in late March. "Recommendations behind closed doors about which classes girls had better to wear thick turtlenecks to are at least as old, and were common knowledge among many of the young women at the high school back then." In an interview with the Journal, one student complained that she felt the issue was not taken seriously for a long time.

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