|【Press Release】Taiwan Coalition against Violence The 2nd Asia-Pacific Summit on Gender-Based Violenc|
Taiwan Coalition against Violence
The 2nd Asia-Pacific Summit on Gender-Based Violence
26, Sep. 2018
Taiwan Coalition Against Violence (TACV) held The Second Asia-Pacific Summit on Gender Based Violence themed “ Time’s up - Integrated Strategies and Innovative Advocacy against Gender-based Violence.” on September 26, 2018. To celebrate the inauguration ceremony of the summit, President Chang Po-Ya of Control Yuan, Secretary General Jih-Jia Lin of Legislative Yuan, and Deputy Minister Pau-Ching Lu of Ministry of Health and Welfare have all come to deliver their appreciation and congratulations.
Through the summit, it is hoped that an awakening spark will ignite in Asia Pacific, a spark to make Asia-Pacific the starting point for change. Adhering to the spirit “Leave No One Behind," they have added topics that cater to elders, mentally or physically challenged, adolescents, the new media, and men. They are now moving in the direction to integrate multiple perspectives and futuristic views in pursuance to broaden the summit’s reach.
According to a study done by United Nations, one in every three women have experienced physical/sexual violence from partners or non-partners. Male-to-female violence is widespread among the Asia-Pacific region. Roughly half of the male population have physically/sexually violated their female partners. Approximately one in every four men have perpetrated rape against a woman or girl in their lifetime, but 72-97 percent did not experience any legal consequences.
From the #MeToo movement that took off on social media platforms to the Time’s Up movement endorsed by Grammy celebrities, we see an era more awakening than ever. Not only is international campaigns being set up at a frequent pace, but more and more women are willing to speak out about their experiences. After the #MeToo movement, victims in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea are more willing to stand out and fight. However, the multi-culture environment and oppression from the structure of gender inequality in Asia-Pacificstill halts victims fromaccusing the offender.
In response to this situation, president of TCAV Huei-Yi Shyu uses a phrase from International Women's Day “Time is Now” to highlight the theme of this Asia-Pacific Summit “Time’s Up.” President Shyu emphasizes “If we dream of a future where victims are no longer forgotten, a future where people of all gender can live with freedom and dignity, and a future where our next generations are free from the ravages of gender-based violence, the time is now. It is time to utilize our projects, measures, policies, laws, and effectively take action. It is time to establish an Asia-Pacific communication platform and create a safe developing environment for all.”
To mark this event, Shiori Ito, the pioneer of #MeToo in Japan and author of Black Box is invited as the keynote speaker.Under oppression from the structured society, Ito had to endure attacks from the public and risk losing her job. She pulled through, broke the long-lasting silence, accused her higher-up of workplace sexual assault, and became the knight in shining armor to all women in Japan.
During Ito’s speech, she mentioned that being groped on a train is a normal occurrence for girls in Japan. Due to the reserved culture, people seldom point out sex offenders. She goes on to talk about her story. “It was three years ago when I was raped. The man who sexually violated me was a renowned author who wrote two books for the prime minister. I was hesitant to go to the police.” Ito knew that taking legal actions meant risking her life in Japan. She would probably lose her job, her friends, and her family. When Ito finally decided to file an allegation of rape, the police responded with, “All the things you went through happened behind closed doors. We don’t deal with man and woman stuff.” Ito then tells us about her experience in the investigation that followed the accusation. “I had to be in a room with three investigators, lie on the floor, and reenact the incident all over again.” People in Japan might say, “It gets better, because at least it’s only a mannequin this time,” but, Ito opposes,“It’s not okay.”
Japan has always been a very restrictive society, reserved to the point of not having a vocabulary that can accurately describe “rape.” The culture makes it difficult for girls to speak about uncomfortable experiences, and only 4% of girls take legal action after being raped.
Last year, Japan finally took a step forward by lengthening their minimum sentence for rape from three to five years. “But,” Ito says gravely, “the concept remains unchanged. Because of the No Means Yes culture in Japan, you still have to prove yourself to be the victim and reenact the horrible moments.”
The #MeToo movement picked up on social media after she published her book Black Box. Knowing there are girls all over the world like her who are fighting this inner turmoil makes her feel empowered, like she is no longer fighting alone. Ito recounted what the man said to her after rape. “You usually act like a strong woman everyday, but today you look like a lost child.”
“It’s not about the sex,” Ito says, “it’s the OVERPOWERING.”
Rape isn’t just a matter between man and woman. It’s a public matter. Even though you might have survived, your home, your body, and your soul might all be destroyed. Ito closes her speech by saying, “Though I survived, the pain, the scar, still remains.”
President Shyu commended Ito’s outstanding courage in the face of challenge and stress. However, globally, there’s still a lot of room to improve on aforementioned issues. The summit serves as a continuing exploration into the prevention of violence and solutions to them. The five aspects of exploration includes: integrated strategies for sexual assault, elder protection, measures against intimate partner violence, programs for youth, and the new media’s role in combating gender-based violence. To conclude her speech, President Shyu states that Asians should work together to end violence against women. Asia’s cooperation will light up women safetyin our region.
Contact: Shu-Wen Liao, General Secretary (02)2341-3434, 0921-955-307
Mei-Hsun Lin, Project Consultant (02)2341-3434, 0973-335-001