Mon, Jan 10, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Women’s group urges judicial reform

ATROCIOUS:A raft of light sentences for accused sex offenders include a father who was let off after rubbing his daughter’s breasts because it didn’t give ‘sexual pleasure’

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

Members of the judiciary should devote more time to training on gender equality, women’s rights groups said yesterday, citing cases where judges either let off accused sexual offenders or gave them unexpectedly light sentences.

Releasing a report on the subject, the groups, accompanied by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Sue-ying (黃淑英), said eight rulings in the past year had been made using outdated legal precedents that were unfair to women.

Despite the outcry over the controversial decisions, the Judicial Yuan has not given judges more comprehensive training on gender equality, Huang said, -adding that the definition of several legal words including “indecency” should also be revised to reflect current realities.

Huang highlighted cases where judges gave light sentences to accused child abusers because they said the young victims did not show “strong will” in fighting off their attackers.

Lin Lu-hung (林綠紅), head of Taiwan Women’s Link, said another case that deserved attention occurred last year when a judge found a father not guilty despite hearing evidence that he allegedly sexually abused his daughter over a period of many years in their home.

A copy of the ruling quoted the judge as saying that the father did not appear to have derived “sexual pleasure” from forcefully rubbing his teenage daughter’s breasts, saying that had this been the case, the act would have occurred in a “more private room ... rather than the living room.”

Another case Lin said highlighted deficiencies in the judicial system was a ruling in which a man accused of taking thousands of pictures under women’s skirts at a popular supermarket chain was found not guilty after the pictures were reviewed and judges found they were primarily aimed at the outer thighs, as opposed to “more private parts.”

“It was unfortunate … that the case virtually disappeared when a judge in charge of making a final review of the [pictures] decided that they were of the outer thighs,” instead of the inner thighs as initially determined by prosecutors, Lin said.

In addition, women’s advocates said another improper ruling took place when a man accused of touching the breasts and shoulders of a woman after drinking heavily was cleared of wrongdoing last year when a judge said the acts were not intended to “satisfy [the perpetrator’s] sexual desires.”

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