New Power Party (NPP) Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) intends to propose an amendment to the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act (性騷擾防治法) at the next legislative session after a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taichung city councilor last month was accused of harassing an NPP city councilor.
“Article 13 of the act needs to be amended to include clearer definitions and rules regarding how organizations should respond to sexual harassment complaints, including performance evaluations, supervisory mechanisms and disciplinary measures, as the Legislative Yuan’s Organic Laws and Statutes Bureau has recommended,” Hsu wrote on Facebook on Saturday.
He said he would start drafting an amendment immediately and propose the bill when the next legislative session begins next month.
Article 13 stipulates that sexual harassment victims can report cases to the company, military unit, school, institution, employer or local government agency where the accused works.
While the article was designed to improve the handling of sexual harassment, it has caused much confusion and has given rise to disputes about who should handle complaints, a report by the Organic Laws and Statutes Bureau said earlier this month.
Improving the act would improve the standing of sexual harassment victims and help shield them from further trauma in the process of seeking justice, Hsu said.
His post came two days after he accompanied NPP Taichung city councilor candidate Wu Pei-yun (吳佩芸) to DPP headquarters to file a sexual harassment complaint against DPP Taichung City Councilor Ho Wen-hai (何文海).
Wu claims that Ho at a banquet in Taichung on July 28 asked her why she did not show more of her body in her campaign poster as she was “already wearing a swimsuit,” emphasizing his point with gestures referring to her breasts.
On the day they went to file the complaint, DPP headquarters was extremely unfriendly, Hsu said, adding that they waited for almost half an hour until a specialist from the DPP Women’s Affairs Department finally offered them a form to fill out.
“The DPP’s sloppy and cavalier attitude added insult to injury,” Hsu said. “If the presence of a legislator cannot prevent organizations from trying to protect a perpetrator, how much worse must the experience be for most people? The procedures for filing sexual harassment complaints clearly need improvement.”
The DPP should release the result of its investigation on the case within two months and revoke Ho’s candidacy for re-election in the Nov. 24 nine-in-one elections, he added.
Ho on Thursday apologized on Facebook for his “inappropriate expressions,” after explaining in an interview with the Chinese-language Apple Daily that he was merely passing along advice from local residents, who said that Wu’s body was too small in the poster.
So far, no other DPP members have commented on the incident.
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