Taiwan lawmakers launch 'Me Too' movement to support victims of sexual assault

Taiwanese public urged to gain awareness of sexual abuse committed by authority figures, stand up for survivors

Taiwanese version of 'Me Too' movement launched online. (Facebook, 沒發聲不代表沒發生 photo)

Taiwanese version of 'Me Too' movement launched online. (Facebook, 沒發聲不代表沒發生 photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In response to the suicide of a New Taipei City Health Department employee who leaped to her death after accusing her supervisor of raping her, Taiwanese lawmakers have launched a "Me Too" movement on social media to raise awareness about the societal pressure endured by victims of sexual abuse.

On July 3, the 29-year-old woman, surnamed Lin (林), jumped off the top of the New Taipei Health Department building after announcing on Facebook that she had been assaulted at a care facility.

She claimed that she had been raped by her married supervisor while he was drunk and that he later threatened to ruin her reputation if she reported him. Lin said she was willing to "sacrifice" her own life if it meant the truth would come out.

Although Lin did not name her attacker, prosecutors believed she was referring to the director of a physiotherapy clinic, surnamed Liao (廖). After being questioned by the police, Liao admitted that he had been having an affair with Lin for two years but denied that he had coerced her into doing anything against her will, reported UDN.

Since the news broke, a Taiwanese version of the Me Too firestorm has taken over social media, with many netizens posting selfies with one hand covering their mouth to signify the powerlessness of victims and pressure to remain silent.

In an interview with CNA on Wednesday (July 29), New Taipei Councilor Dai Wei-shan (戴瑋姍) pointed out that cases of sexual assault happen all the time in Taiwan, but the majority of people are unaware of them. She said many of the perpetrators are company supervisors, teachers, or people in positions of authority, which means the victims have little power to convince others the incidents took place.

Dai said some of the victims risk being branded as mistresses or frauds, especially if they are young university graduates new to a workplace. She expressed hope that the public would light the path for survivors and stand up against injustice.

Meanwhile, Taipei City Councilor Huang Yu-fen (黃郁芬) also offered her support for the new MeToo movement. She stressed in a Facebook post that many people do not understand the trauma a victim of sexual abuse has to go through and that Taiwanese society's reluctance to talk about sex may have contributed to their silence as well.