Taiwan’s “Anti-Sexual Harassment Movement”: A Belated Awakening with Far-Reaching Impact

Due to a television series, Taiwan, China initiated a belated “long overdue” “anti-sexual harassment campaign”. This movement has persisted to the present day, and we can comprehend it from various perspectives.

First and foremost, why is it considered overdue?

Since the emergence of the sexual assault scandal involving the renowned Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in October 2017, the “anti-sexual harassment movement” has engulfed Europe and the United States, yet it has remained relatively muted in Asia. While South Korea has witnessed a more forceful momentum, Japan saw its female reporter, Shiori Ito, fire the initial salvo, while other Asian countries and regions experienced minimal impact.

Secondly, why did Taiwan’s “anti-sexual harassment movement” originate from a television series?

The series narrates the tale of a group of aides, featuring a female character who endures workplace sexual harassment and even falls victim to the unethical act of her superiors capturing her nude photographs. Tragically, when she confided in her female supervisor, the latter responded, “Let us not endure this passively. If such incidents persist, lives will gradually wither away.” This deeply resonated with numerous women. Consequently, due to the political allusions found within this television series, the first wave of the “Anti-Sexual Harassment Movement” in Taiwan emerged within the realm of the “Democratic Progressive Party” in late May of this year.

Next, how extensive is Taiwan’s “anti-sexual harassment movement”?

Between the genders, what is required is not conflict, but collaboration.

After the “anti-sexual harassment” campaign commenced within the “Democratic Progressive Party,” it progressively permeated various domains such as academia, the arts, and the performing arts—the latter being particularly “tragic.” Huang Zijiao, NONO, Xu Jiehui, Chen Jianzhou, and others were successively exposed, causing Taiwan’s entertainment industry to be labeled as “the twilight of the gods” by the media. The misconduct of these artists encompassed forcing minors into intimate acts, capturing nude photographs and videos, workplace sexual harassment, and more. Despite these artists issuing apologies one after another upon being exposed, appeasing public outrage proved exceedingly challenging. Some artists even resorted to “biting the hand that feeds” or attributing blame to their own “childhood trauma,” generating an atmosphere of repugnance.

Women have endured sexual harassment for an extensive duration. Finally, in this society, women can fearlessly articulate the pain accumulated in their hearts in defense of their dignity. While expressing themselves, they also provide a lesson for other women to evade similar experiences in the future.

When addressing gender issues, Taiwanese society is already considerably advanced when compared to other Asian societies. Nevertheless, the scale of this “anti-sexual harassment movement” remains disconcerting.

However, I believe that upon scrutinizing the intricacies of this “anti-sexual harassment movement,” despite my elation at its achievements, numerous areas warrant vigilance. For instance, what precisely constitutes “sexual harassment”? Where should the line be drawn for “humorous banter”? How can men and women avoid becoming “adversaries” within the gender movement? What transpires when men become victims of the “campaign against sexual harassment”?

Asia embodies a compassionate society, fostering close interpersonal connections. This reality resembles a double-edged sword: it engenders the potential for “acquaintance crimes” involving sexual violence, and due to disparate interpretations of “sexual harassment” and “joking,” it amplifies interpersonal tension. Nevertheless, ultimately, “No” means “No.” Any form of sexual violence perpetrated through power, any intimate conduct contrary to the desires of others, and the like must not be condoned. Between the genders, what is required is not conflict, but collaboration, thereby propelling genuine equality, diversity, and tolerance.

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