OBR ASIAN COORDINATORS RISING IN TAIWAN
ASIAN NETWORK FOR ENDING SEXUAL/ GENDER – BASED VIOLENCE
by GARDEN OF HOPE – One Billion Rising Coordinators (Taiwan)
The OBR Taiwan Coordinators and Organizers since 2013, THE GARDEN OF HOPE, hosted a Gender Violence Workshop in the East Asian Democracy Forum, held in Taipei, Taiwan, last May 23 – 25th. This also included a specific workshop to end sexual/ gender-based violence workshop for women in Asia. The Forum was spearheaded and hosted by CEO of Garden of Hope – Hui-Jung Chi – who is also One Billion Rising Regional Coordinator for East Asia, covering Taiwan, Mongolia, Japan, Korea and China. The Conference was attended by many OBR coordinators around Asia, including Joms Salvador of GABRIELA National Women’s Alliance (OBR Philippine Coordinators, and OBR Regional Coordinators for Southeast Asia), and Chairperson of Beautiful Hearts in Mongolia, Khongorzul Amarsanaa (OBR Mongolia Coordinators). At the conference all the participants from around Asia pledged to keep Rising to end gender based violence, and to keep Rising to continue to build Solidarity, strengthen networks and build alliances – until the violence stops. “One Billion Rising Revolution: Solidarity Against the Exploitation of Women” is OBR’s current theme and focus.
“GENDER VIOLENCE WORKSHOP IN THE EAST ASIAN DEMOCRACY FORUM”
By Min-Yeh Ho, Media Specialist, Civic Dialogue Department, GOH Headquarters, translated by Peko Ku
The Garden of Hope Foundation (GOH) held the East Asian Democracy Forum: Workshop on Ending Sexual/ Gender-Based Violence on 24th to 25th May. All participants swore that in the future they will strengthen regional network collaboration and share each other’s intelligence, information, plans and actions for support.
The seminar was first narrated by CEO of GOH, Hui-Jung Chi, and Shui-Yuan Chang, Director General, Ministry of Health and Welfare. They introduced Taiwan’s sexual violence and violence prevention services. Ms. Chi said that the experience of victims of sexual abuse was generally neglected, and the shortcomings of sexual violent prevention in Asia are: inadequate lawsuits, lengthy litigation, and lack of gender awareness among the judicial system staff. Sexual assault victims do not have litigation status and marking rights. Fortunately in Taiwan, the National Affairs Conference of Judicial Reform at Office of the President R.O.C changed the law to allow the victims to have the right to participate in litigation.
Ms. Chang said that the myth of the sexual violence has changed from the earlier years. From “to defend yourself until death” – to the second stage, “No means no”, to the current stage, “Only yes means yes”. We can see the change of the times. From the sexual assault annual data, the ratio of number of reports and the number of police administrative cases received is three to one. It means two-thirds of cases did not enter the judicial system. From this we that can see the victims were not ready. The core of sexual violence prevention work is the respect for individual sexual autonomy, and Ministry of Health and Welfare will try to start from next year to form statistics on sexual violations. As for the recent suicidal case of the female writer, Ms. Chang said that the parents of the victim did not have the correct concept of sexual violence prevention and control work.
GOH Deputy Director Yueh-Hao Wang commented on the suicide of the female writer, and mentioned that the public still thinks sexual violence only happens a single time with a stranger. In fact, 70% of sexual assault cases occur with a familiar person, and the incident is often repeated. She commented that we should focus on the prevention of potential perpetrators; and sex education and gender education should focus on individual rights rather than chastity. The Vice President of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy Ketty W. Chen said that we should provide more knowledge and education to prevent sexual violence, so that women can become strong and powerful and have the courage to say no to perpetrators.
One of the guests at the seminar was a Japanese advocator, YukiAssistant Coordinator of All Japan Women’s Shelters Network, who serve the people of SOGI (Diverse Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities). In Japan, one in every 4 women experience domestic violence, and a woman is killed by her husband every three days. The traditional data does not cater for LGBT (sexual minorities, in Japan they are called SOGI) investigation. The government set a shelter in Kōchi Prefecture to assist SOGI from August 2014 to March 2015, and had 5 cases in these 8 months. Most of them had trauma, and a shelter was closed due to a lack of manpower and resources.
In addition, there were two parts of the seminar about the management of the perpetrators and child sexual exploitation. A specialist from the Department of Mental and Oral Health, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan, Lee Ping-Chang, said less than 10% of the perpetrators of sexual violence have mental problems. Therefore, the mandatory treatment for them is not effective so the focus should be on monitoring.
The seminar also showed a video by Barefoot Alice Playback Theater, which was set up by GOH in 2008 with a group of women who had been sexually violated. Through a “one person, one story” theater, members are able to heal in narrating and listening to other peoples stories. This year Barefoot Alice Playback Theater will participate in an original show of monologues, of Taiwanese stories – inspired by “The Vagina Monologues”.
“ENDING SEXUAL/ GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE WORKSHOP”
By Min-Yeh Ho, Media Specialist, Civic Dialogue Department, GOH Headquarters, translated by Jessy He
During services and international advocacy, the Garden of Hope Foundation (GOH) has realized that vulnerable women and girls face similar difficulties. Therefore, GOH has started two programs in past few years: Asian Girls Empowerment and Asian Network of Women’s Shelters, to spread the precious experience from its practice in Taiwan to places around the world and improve the human rights of Asian women together with its partners in Asia. This year, GOH has been strengthening the combination of the international advocacy network. The workshop on Asian Ending Sexual/ Gender-Based Violence Network was held from the 24th to the 25th of May. It took the services for sexual / gender violence as the main topic, deepening the international cooperation based on the original network on subjects such as Sexual/Gender-based Violence Prevention, Diverse Interventions, Post-abuse Trauma Treatment and so on.
In the Panel of Post-abuse Trauma Treatment, a sexual assault survivor from Taiwan, Victoria Huang, mentioned that Taiwanese women live in a rape culture, which prevents us from talking about the experience of sexual assault, but that is why we need to keep talking about it so that we can regain our right of interpretation. The General Supervisor of Dandelion Counseling Center of GOH, Wan-Jing Lee said the most difficult part of sexual violence prevention is to change the myth of social culture. Sexual violence influences not only individuals but also families, the society and the culture, and community counseling would be more effective than mere individual counseling.
Secretary-general of GABRIELA in the Philippines, Joms Salvador, has been devoted to empowering women and girls to mobilize them to try to change the society. Because there are more and more Filipino migrants in Taiwan, Joms said it was being considered to set up Gabriela branches in Taiwan. GABRIELA are long time OBR Coordinators in the Philippines, and GABRIELA chapters around the world also organize and coordinate OBR. Former Executive Director of Women’s Aid Organisation in Malaysia, Ivy Josiah, has spent 30 years on topics related to women. Currently she has devoted her time to improving civil rights and she does not consider gender violence a subject of psychology but of power. Although it is important to provide shelter, she believes advocacy is more important.
Other speakers continued to discuss about the prevention of sexual/gender-based violence. Chairperson of Beautiful Hearts in Mongolia, Khongorzul Amarsanaa, uses art to advocate. Last year, they set up action cabins, which is like living rooms, and played anti sexual violence videos in shopping malls and schools while inviting people to sign the petitions. They also have been actively supporting, coordinating and organizin One Billion Rising for many years. Director of Shih Hsin University Graduate Institutes for Gender Studies, Tsun-Yin Luo, talked about sexual autonomy in effective education. She indicated that we should start the prevention of sexual violence in campuses with education culture.
Program Director of Action Pour Les Enfants Cambodia, Vando Khoem, indicated the severe problem of sexual abuse in Cambodia, and this happens on streets, inside organizations, in brothels and on pornography websites. Therefore, he hoped to raise social awareness, set up hotlines and request legal aid through cooperation with human rights organizations.
After the meeting, delegates promised they would strengthen the power of Asian Ending Sexual/ Gender-Based Violence Network, reach a consensus in services and advocacy in Asia, and lead more Asian partners to move forward to a world without sexual / gender violence.