‘Corpse-picking’ warning given

LENDING ASSISTANCE::The Modern Women’s Foundation and the Ministry of Health and Welfare say people must be more aware of the problem and ready to help victims

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Feb 13, 2014 - Page 3

Ahead of Valentine’s Day, the Modern Women’s Foundation yesterday reminded the public, especially women, to be on alert for “corpse-picking” — a term used to describe people taking an unconscious or drunk woman home or to a hotel for sex.

Citing recent media reports about three men who picked up a drunk and unconscious woman outside a karaoke parlor in New Taipei City (新北市), taking her to a hotel, but giving up their plan after she woke up, the foundation said “corpse-picking” happens all too often, especially around holidays, including Valentine’s Day.

“Last year, the Modern Women’s Foundation handled 250 cases of sexual assault, 50 of which involved the rape of a woman who had gotten drunk and/or lost consciousness,” foundation deputy chief executive Lin Mei-hsun (林美薰) told a news conference in Taipei.

“Such incidents usually happen between 2:30am and 3am, around KTV parlors or nightclubs, and the rapist could be someone the victim knows or a stranger,” Lei said.

She said that some rapists may intentionally get their victims drunk, while others pick their victims at random after finding them lying drunk or unconscious on the street.

Since most victims in such cases are unconscious, the act of taking them away is referred to “picking up a corpse.”

Lai Fang-yu (賴芳玉), an attorney who has long been involved in the women’s rights movement, said that regardless of what the act is called, it is a crime.

“The victim may not have resisted because she was drunk to the point of unconsciousness, but that does not mean she approves of what the rapist is doing to her. That makes it a crime,” she said. “Even if the victim can react a little, if she is not fully conscious, it is still considered a crime.”

Some people may think that “corpse-picking” is a side effect of nightlife culture, but Lai said she does not agree.

“It is not part of a culture, it is a crime,” she said.

The foundation executive called on the public to stop supporting such crimes by sympathizing with men who are prosecuted for these acts or believing that the victims were “asking for it.”

Department of Protective Services Vice Director Lin Wei-yen (林維言) from the Ministry of Health and Welfare said that, in line with the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act (性騷擾防治法), the owner or operator of a KTV parlor or nightclub should seek to prevent such crimes from occurring at their establishment.

“By law, an owner must do something to prevent it from happening. If such an incident occurs, the owner must help the victim. They must also provide a hotline for customers to report sexual harassment or sexual assault at the establishment,” Lin Wei-yen said.

“If an owner fails to do any of these, he or she could be fined up to NT$100,000 for each violation,” she said.

The ministry also urged the public to pay more attention to incidents of sexual harassment or assault and provide assistance to the victim.