The National Alliance of Taiwan Women’s Associations yesterday led 26 organizations in demanding that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Chen Hsueh-sheng (陳雪生) apologize after a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker accused him of sexual harassment.
DPP Legislator Fan Yun (范雲) said that Chen pressed his belly against her during a scuffle inside the legislative chamber on Tuesday.
Chen said that the accusation was unwarranted.
“It was not sexual harassment, as it is impossible to become pregnant from a belly,” he said.
“My belly made contact with her,” Chen told reporters. “What is her problem? She thinks too highly of herself.”
“I do not have feelings for her,” he said. “She is being vain and self-important.”
Wang Kuang-yu (王冠予), head of Chen’s legislative office, wrote on Facebook that Fan “is trying to get media attention.”
“She should look herself in the mirror,” Wang wrote, adding: “We question her personality.”
The alliance said that lawmakers should know better.
“We are disappointed that it has been 15 years since the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act (性騷擾防治法) was promulgated, but we still have legislators who do not understand that sexual advances and similar actions that violate the will of another person constitute sexual harassment,” the alliance said in a statement. “It has nothing to do with whether a woman will get pregnant.”
The comments by Chen and Wang added to the insult and vilified a victim, it said.
“The remarks showed that the men seriously lack understanding on issues of sexual equality,” it said. “They did not try to comprehend and make a self-assessment, but continued to use disparaging words and added to the sexual harassment.”
“Every person has the right not to be violated by sexual harassment, it is guaranteed by the law,” the alliance said. “The KMT, which Chen belongs to, is silent on the matter. It is as though the party had given such behavior the green light.”
Speaking to reporters after the scuffle, Fan said that Chen prodded her from behind three times.
“He did not express regret and said his belly would not result in pregnancy, so it was not sexual harassment,” she said. “Then he demanded that I provide evidence.”
“It was not just Chen Hsueh-sheng, but the whole party through their reactions — they have no understanding about sexual equality and their comments made even more uncomfortable,” she said.
KMT Legislator Hsu Chih-jung (徐志榮) wrote on Facebook that “it looked like Fan was smiling throughout, as though she was enjoying it.”
After receiving criticisn for the comment, Hsu said that “enjoying” was merely a description and people should not be offended by his use of the word.
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