Wed, May 17, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Education for people who need sex

By Wang Ching-yi 王晴怡

“In tones as smooth as butter on bread, Ssu-chi (思琪) said to her mother: ‘We have learned all sorts of things in this family — the only thing missing is sex education.’ With a look of surprise, her mother replied: ‘What sex education? Sex education is for people who need sex. Isn’t that what education is all about?’ At that moment, Ssu-chi understood that her parents would always be absent from this story. They had skipped class without even knowing that classes had begun.”

This passage from Lin Yi-han’s (林奕含) novel The Playground of Fang Ssu-chi’s First Love (房思琪的初戀樂園) makes for sad reading in the context of its author’s suicide and begs the question: Is sex education really only for people who need sex?

Recently, the media pointed an accusing finger at judges in a sexual assault case involving a seven-year-old girl.

Commentators were surprised that the judges gave the perpetrator a light sentence after determining that the sexual acts had been “consensual.”

However, the judges’ decision was based on a resolution passed at the seventh conference of the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division in 2010.

The resolution states that intercourse with a person less than seven years old should be considered aggravated sexual intercourse — a serious offense punishable by at least seven years in prison.

However, if the victim is aged between seven and 14, the court should investigate if the act was consensual and only if it is determined to have been non-consensual should it be ruled aggravated sexual intercourse.

If it is determined to have been consensual, it is to be handled according to Article 227, Paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code, which states: “A person who has sexual intercourse with a male or female under the age of 14 shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than three years, but not more than 10 years.”

This is why whether sex was consensual becomes a key point of contention in cases of sexual assault involving people who are more than seven years old. However, the idea that sex under such circumstances can be defined as consensual is ridiculous.

Is a seven-year-old capable of expressing his or her will regarding sexual acts? If seven-year old children do not know what sex is, then when it is happening, the child is incapable of knowing what it is. In that case the child is not capable of expressing his or her desires.

One of the main purposes of sex education is for children to familiarize themselves with their bodies, to be able to distinguish between other people’s bodies and their own, and to learn respect for the autonomy and privacy they have over their own bodies and other people’s.

However, society is embarrassed about sex and treats it as a taboo. This can lead to an ostrich-like attitude to sex education that creates a hotbed for seduction of minors.

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s statistics on reported sexual assaults last year, out of a total of 8,141 assault victims, 5,214, or 64 percent, were under the age of 18.

Among the “Fang Ssu-chis” I have encountered in the course of my work as a prosecutor and only counting cases in which substantial evidence could be found, the youngest victim of sexual assault was four years old.

Many “Fang Ssu-chis” have told me things like “uncle said he was playing a game with me” or “at the time I didn’t know what daddy was doing to me.” In such situations, the sexual behavior likely happened without resistance, so no one can say the person went “against the victim’s will.”

This story has been viewed 2646 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top