The Garden of Hope Foundation, together with HappyRecome, held a charity fair at the Huashan 1914 Creative Park yesterday to raise funds for abused women and their children, and to raise public awareness about violence against women.
Fifty stands with products ranging from coffee to Aboriginal agricultural goods were on show to highlight the cause of women who have suffered violent assault, and for children who have witnessed such violence.
“Last year there were reported more than 50,000 cases of violence by partners, and more than 10,000 sexual assaults in Taiwan. Eighty-five percent of the victims of such violence were women,” said Wang Shu-fen (王淑芬), the foundation’s Taipei office director.
The foundation, which also headed the US-based One Billion Rising campaign in Taiwan in February to push for an end to violence against women, found that 41.5 percent of Taiwanese women have experienced violence in their lifetime.
This figure is much higher than statistics provided by the UN, which indicated that one in every three women in the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some other way.
“We hope the event raises public awareness and galvanizes the public to be concerned about women around them who might be victims of violence,” Wang said.
“We have come to realize that the campaign should also target men, who play a crucial role in this social phenomenon. And that’s why we also staged the ‘V-men’ campaign today,” Wang added.
Described as a “tender revolution,” the V-men campaign calls on men to give compliments instead of criticism, replace fists with hugs, avoid buying sex, stop verbal sexual harassment and be friendly to women.
Echoing the international V-day campaign started by Eve Ensler, the plawright of The Vagina Monologues, the campaign at the fair invited men to experience what it is like to be a woman by having them wear high-heeled shoes and skirts.
“This is an activity that emulates the Canadian ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’ campaign, which is based on the old saying that: ‘You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes,’” Wang said.