A "distress letter that is too late but should be properly caught" opened the Me Too operation in Taiwanese politics. I want to say to this survivor, and to all those who are afraid to come forward because it is "too late": "We are always here, as long as you are ready, it is not too late."
On May 31, 2023, a former DPP member of the Women's Department posted on Facebook alleging that he was sexually harassed by co-director Xue Chaohui during his tenure in the DPP, but the whole incident was not properly handled, only to receive a cold response from the then director of the Women's Department, Xu Jiatian: "So? What do you want me to do?" "I don't understand, why didn't you call it out?"
As soon as the whistle sounded, more survivors came forward to complain about their own experiences and negative handling within the party, and now there have been nearly 9 similar cases, those involved in the incident have been suspended for investigation, party discipline, and the current chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party, Lai Qingde, has also promised to carry out gender equality reform.
This meToo force has also spread to social movement circles, and two Qingda alumni have accused Wang Dan, the leader of China's June Fourth student movement and a democracy activist, of sexually harassing him while teaching, and this is not a single incident. Qingda launched a sexual peace investigation, and the accused Wang Dan responded strongly: "Welcome to the complaint, support the legal way to find the truth of the matter."
In response to a series of sexual peace events, I would like to share with readers my observations and three actions that anyone can take.
First, when encountering sexual harassment, start with an active investigation
This incident shows that many workplace environments are not yet able to provide enough support to survivors, and when encountering any form of sexual harassment, remember to exercise their rights and actively collect evidence.
Whether you plan to say it now or not, actively collecting can give your future self more opportunities, but don't blame yourself for not doing it, no matter what, it's not you who should apologize.
If you're ready to speak up, here's what to ask for help:
- Record and search, e.g. screenshots of conversations, audio recordings.
- Lodge a complaint with the employer through internal grievance channels.
- If you are not satisfied with the handling or results of the internal grievance channels, you can file a complaint with the local authority.
- If the perpetrator pays criminal liability or civil damages, he or she can file a lawsuit with the court and seek judicial relief.
Even if society doesn't catch us immediately, we can be brave for ourselves, whether you choose to speak out about what happened to you or are still waiting for the day when you are ready, as long as you are still trying to live, you are brave.
Second, my dear, let's stop focusing on the big picture
One distress letter after another, in addition to the courage of the survivors, I saw more helplessness and pain of "focusing on the big picture".
In addition to encountering oppression by power or being forced to disclose doubts about sexual orientation, most survivors fear that their experiences will become a tool for people with intentions to manipulate issues, and the values they strive to maintain collapse overnight.
These survivors are rationally distressed, even if they are scarred, they still carefully think about the after-effects of each action, but after putting it into action, they still have to bear the question of "why wait until now?" "Is it a political attack?"
I never believe that the achievements of one person or group of people can offset any sin, because there is nothing "careless" about sexual harassment, and it is an act that all adults should know and have the ability to avoid. When it comes to the basic rights and interests of people, there is no so-called "overall situation first", when we cannot protect even the most basic human rights, it is useless to talk about any ideals.
Honey, let's stop thinking about the big picture, all sexual harassment cases can't just be left alone.
3. To supporters: Whether you like it or not, no one deserves to be hurt twice
In this Me too campaign, we saw many supporters stand up in support of survivors, but unfortunately saw a lot of irrational remarks, in addition to the survivors' motives being questioned, but also survivors with different political positions were criticized as "not brave enough" and "swallowed to take office".
In the face of all the controversy, it is easy for people to put aside right and wrong, favor the side they support, and try to achieve their own inner balance by rationalizing these mistakes. But in sexual harassment cases, there is only one concern – are survivors properly protected?
To all bystanders in sexual harassment cases, whether you like it or not, whether you recognize the past actions of survivors or not, no one should be sexually harassed.
While supporting survivors, we should review the absence of social protection nets, not the silence of other survivors, no survivor "should" speak out, and no one needs to be revictimized.
If you are concerned about sexual harassment and want to be a supporter for survivors, what we can do is catch them with warmth and show support and understanding. Too much abuse and suspicion will only blur the focus of the whole incident and implicate innocent people.
If there is a hole in the net, it is necessary to fill it up and catch the hearts of all survivors together
No matter how ugly the truth is, we must face it and solve it.
A few months ago, we only talked to readers about "power sexual assault" and "stalking harassment", and now we have seen a series of sexual harassment incidents. You may be as angry and shaky as I am, but you still have to go to get your emotions in order.
Here are three actions to invite all who want to stand in solidarity with survivors and those who survived:
- Actively investigate and exercise your rights
- Put human rights first, not the big picture
- All survivors, regardless of political affiliation, should be heard
No matter how sexual harassment affects your daily life, it is a problem that needs to be confronted and addressed. Together, we will build a strong protective net, and we will not miss a single wounded heart in the future.