The Taiwan Medical Association on Tuesday slammed a controversial former government official’s remarks that “[sexual assault] is legal if it is not caught,” made in reference to the alleged rape of a writer, surnamed Lin (林).
Kuo Kuan-ying’s (郭冠英) comments are absurd and “tantamount to throwing salt on the wounds of rape victims and their families,” the association said.
Cram-school teacher Chen Kuo-hsing (陳國星) has been accused of raping Lin when she was his student, an incident that might have contributed to her suicide last month.
Kuo on Monday told Sanlih E-Television that “[sexual assault] is legal if they did not catch it,” and if Chen broke any laws, Lin’s parents should have pressed charges.
Since Lin’s family did not press charges, the whole affair should be considered legal, he said.
Kuo, a former Toronto-based Government Information Service employee, was fired in 2009 after writing several online articles disparaging ethnic Taiwanese, including calling them taibazi (台巴子), meaning “Taiwanese rednecks,” and wokou (倭寇), or “Japanese pirates.”
He also styled himself a “high-class Mainlander” and characterized the imposition of martial law during the White Terror era as a “benevolent act.”
“Those comments are unlawful, immoral and criminal. They are an absurd attempt at rationalization, contemptuous of this democratic society’s principles of freedom, justice and the rule of law, and tantamount to throwing salt on the wounds of rape victims and their families by re-traumatizing them. This association expresses its strongest possible opposition and condemnation,” the group said in a statement.
Proportionally fewer perpetrators of sexual assault are prosecuted for their crimes, because many victims and their families chose silence or settlement, the association said.
Victims of sexual assault often suffer from severe post-traumatic stress disorders and other lasting psychological wounds, and they need counseling and support from friends and family to heal, it said.
“The public should support women’s rights, the right sexual autonomy and sex education,” the association said.
Kuo on Monday also wrote on Facebook that Chen is a “real gentleman.”
“He is a patriot, so he is being ganged up on by pro-independence legislators and media,” Kuo wrote.
“He promoted Chinese culture and big bucks; respect,” he wrote.
“Pro-independence Japanese hate him so much because he loved a beautiful daughter of Tainan and they do not have many pretty ones down there; a rare beautiful woman fell in love with a handsome rich Taipei person and wrote a novel about it? The pro-independence Japanese cannot take it,” he said.
“Are daughters of Tainan less violable?... A death of a daughter of Tainan made all of Taiwan sad? I am not sad,” he said.
A group of Tainan-based lawmakers and city councilors on Monday held a news conference to condemn Kuo’s remarks.
“Kuo’s chauvinism has smothered his conscience and reason,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) said.
DPP Legislator Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said Taiwan lacks regulations against hate speech, which allows people like Kuo to make a hobby of provoking people and involve complex political issues, such as independence or unification, into simple issues of crime or corruption.
“Lin’s tragic death greatly affected the public and Kuo’s comments are intolerable,” DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said.
DPP Councilor Tsai Wang-chuan (蔡旺詮) said he was “enraged and nauseated” by Kuo’s comments.
In response, Kuo said that his remarks calling Chen a “real gentleman” were a quote from another cram school teacher, Liu Yi (劉毅).
Lawmakers, the media and police are relying on Lin’s reportedly autobiographical novel, which should not be treated as evidence, Kuo said.
Additional reporting by Wu Chun-feng and Tung Chen-kuo
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