Taiwan’s #MeToo Moment: schools to raise awareness about rape via education

Gymnastics teacher accused of decade of assaults

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The man circled in front row is the coach involved in sexual assaults (screenshot of Breaking news commune)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On the eve of International Women’s Day, a heartbroken post on social media was made by a female netizen who spoke of her, and her fellow trainees,’ unpleasant experience with her gymnastics coach, during her teen years, in the hope of bringing him to justice after two decades.

The coach was said to have been suspended by schools in Kaohsiung City for a sexual misconduct investigation. The schools also responded with multiple measures to stop sexual harassment or assault on campus, such as installing a “Students Help Phone,” initiating sexual assault prevention education, and setting up parent groups that allow parents to join sport tournaments outside schools to reduce the risk of assault, according to local reports

Schools where the gymnast was hired as coach for two decades are also called into question for negligence. The suspect reportedly started his job in 1991. 

Liang Mei-tsung (梁梅宗), a national award-winning male gymnast and long-time coach for several elementary schools, was reportedly under a probe into allegations of raping underage girls after a woman reportedly surnamed Yeh wrote to the Kaohsiung Bureau of Education to reveal Liang’s sexual misconduct. He was released on NT$300,000 bail

In a post dated March 10, an anonymous netizen took Liang's sexual misconduct to Breaking news commune (爆料公社) and recalled the traumatic events:  

“I really want to fly, but my wings were broken by him, whom I once regarded him as a father figure… when my parents were away for work. He took good care of me to avoid sports injuries when I was a child at elementary school.”

At junior high, she said, the coach started to touch her body in an inappropriate manner, then it developed into molestation, and even sexual assaults. By then she also came to realize why her fellow trainees felt reluctant to be left alone with the coach. She said in regret that had she had more awareness, she could have avoided the hurt.

The post gave a lengthy and detailed account of the misconduct, including how powerless she felt when being assaulted. She continued to say that two decades past, she survives through time and found someone she is going to marry:

“I am no more a victim, I am a survivor. The reason I speak out is inspired by the news that my long adored U.S. gymnast stood out to accuse a former national gymnastics team doctor of sexual assaults, and at the moment, I know I am not alone.” … “I was no longer the little girl you took advantage of, I am now an avenger and will bring you to justice.”

In response to alleged sexual assaults by Liang, Taiwan’s gymnastic association issued a statement on Monday that the organization is going to revoke Liang’s coach license once the allegations were confirmed true. In the wake of the scandal, the association has decided to add “gender equality” classes for coaches and set up a “discipline committee” to receive complaints of any inappropriate behavior.

Liang has been avoiding media calls to respond to the allegations, and his coach license was suspended as the investigation started. At the time of publication, Taiwan News was not able to reach Liang for comment.