Sat, May 13, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Web site and foundation join hands to help rape victims

HELPING HAND:The foundation and the Web site, who have helped hundreds of women, said age gaps and power relationships were often involved in rape cases

By Yang Mien-chieh and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Representatives of Womany.net and the Modern Women’s Foundation hold up signs with the text “face up to sexual abuse” and “five stages of dealing with trauma” at a news conference on Thursday announcing the founding of a platform on which rape victims can seek help.

Photo: Yang Mien-chieh, Taipei Times

Social media Web site Womany.net and the Modern Women’s Foundation on Thursday jointly announced the founding of a platform on which rape victims could seek help, hoping to prevent incidents like the recent suicide of writer Lin Yi-han (林奕含).

Lin’s parents have claimed that her suicide is connected to the story portrayed in her first novel, which they say was based on her own experiences.

The novel depicts a student who had been diagnosed as medically insane after being raped by a cram-school teacher 37 years her senior.

According to Womany founder Tanya Chen (陳怡蓁), the new platform will provide channels to help those who do not know whom to turn to and those who do not wish to be helped, adding that the platform would also contain advice on how to move past bad experiences.

Womany started a message wall two years ago that has already collected 202 anonymous messages from victims disclosing their own experiences, Chen said.

Modern Women’s Foundation chief executive Lin Mei-hsun (林美薰) said Womany was a source of great help to many rape victims, as the Web site offered a channel to express their pain and suffering.

Many of the incidents posted on the wall happened early in people’s lives and victims have been brooding for a very long time, Lin Mei-shan said, adding that writing down their stories was not only a cathartic experience for the writers, but also helped others.

Interacting with victims while promising them anonymity is important to help them heal, Lin Mei-shan said.

Citing statistics gathered between 2014 and last year, she said that incidents of rape between managers or supervisors and their employees accounted for one-sixth of the 761 victims who had sought help from the foundation.

The victims in these cases often did not initially report the crime because it happened in a work environment or at an educational institution, she said.

A common thread in these incidents is the difference of age between the perpetrator and the victim, she said, adding that in more than 50 percent of incidents the perpetrator was at least 16 years older than the victim, while in 14 percent of cases the perpetrator was at least 30 years older.

As regards the relationship of victims to the perpetrators in cases of abuse of power, more than 40 percent had family ties to the perpetrator, 35 percent were coworkers, while 5 percent had teacher-student relationships, she said.

She said this year marks the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act (性侵害犯罪防治法) and it is an opportunity to reflect on what could be done to improve legislation and prevention measures.

Meanwhile, Taipei Familial Abuse Hotline head consultant Shuang Yi-jou (霜毅柔) called on victims to seek help, assuring them that volunteers would be by their side throughout the recovery process and would even accompany the victims to court if necessary.

Additional reporting by CNA

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