The Ministry of Education is to improve the report mechanism for sexual harassment at schools, the ministry said, adding that it encourages students to come forward and report incidents.
Deputy Minister of Education Tsai Ching-hwa (蔡清華) made the remarks on Wednesday after watching the movie The Silent Forest (無聲), which is based on the true story of sexual assault cases against hearing-impaired students at the National Tainan Special School.
In the movie, faculty at the school attempt to cover up incidents instead of reporting it to the police.
Photo courtesy of CATCHPLAY via CNA
Tsai said that the Criminal Code mandates that faculty must report an incident within 24 hours of finding out about alleged harassment, adding that those who fail to report an incident would be fined NT$30,000 to NT$150,000.
Schools should also step up measures against sexual harassment and raise students’ and parents’ awareness of the matter, and how they can contribute, he added.
“Together, we can prevent more incidents of sexual assault and harassment,” Tsai said.
The movie highlighted the naivete of students regarding sexual assault, Tsai said, citing a scene in which a character in the movie says: “It was just for fun.”
School curricula should include information on sexual and physical autonomy, Tsai said.
Movie director Ko Chen-nian (柯貞年) expressed the hope that the movie would provide “food for thought” regarding the issue, instead of provoke criticism of its topic as being too sensitive.
Ko said she was touched when movie-goers came to her to share their reflections on the issue or even their own experiences with sexual harassment.
Actor Liu Kuan-ting (劉冠廷), playing the character in the movie who reports the incidents, said he hoped that more people would act as the character and come forward if they have knowledge of incidents of sexual harassment.
Actor Liu Tzu-chuan (劉子銓) said that the title of the movie should entice people to not remain silent and report incidents to the authorities.
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