The Modern Women’s Foundation yesterday reminded the public to be aware of sexual harassment, as the start of the Lunar New Year holiday draws closer and today marks the seventh anniversary of the enactment of the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act (性騷擾防治法).
Statistics from the Ministry of the Interior show that 53.71 percent of the 524 cases of sexual harassment reported in 2011 occurred in public spaces, the foundation said, adding that an analysis of 251 media reports of sexual harassment incidents during 2011 and last year showed that up to 50.2 percent of victims were harassed by strangers.
The foundation’s analysis also showed that 23.1 percent of the victims had been harassed close to their neighborhoods, mostly while commuting to and from home, with 16.7 percent of cases happening on public transport and 14.8 percent in public entertainment spaces.
Foundation executive director Yao Shu-wen (姚淑文) said unwanted physical contact, such as grabbing of breasts or hips, accounted for about 73 percent of reported sexual harassment cases, with some cases also including verbal abuse.
“We hope to encourage victims of sexual harassment to report the cases, regardless of whether the perpetrator is a stranger or an acquaintance, so justice can be meted out through the judicial process,” she said, adding that many victims are too frightened or ashamed to report sexual abuse.
The foundation advised people who are being harassed to shout loudly to get help from other people and draw attention to the attacker, report the incident to the police and pursue judicial measures promptly so as to not exceed the statute of limitations for such crimes.