Date
23 March 2017
A video grab shows a government campaign against harassmen. A concern group is urging women who are victims of sexual harassment to speak out. Photos: EOC/YouTube
A video grab shows a government campaign against harassmen. A concern group is urging women who are victims of sexual harassment to speak out. Photos: EOC/YouTube

Workplace sexual harassment up last year, says women’s group

Workplace sexual harassment in Hong Kong rose in 2015 from the previous year but many of the victims refused to speak out for fear of losing their job.

A women’s concern group said it received 1,151 complaints last year but only 486 callers provided full information, Sing Tao Daily reports.

Sixty percent of the complaints were related to rape and the remainder were sexual assault or harassment, the report said, citing RainLily, a self-help service of the Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women.

Six in 10 victims were sexually abused by relatives, friends, supervisors, colleagues or people they know.

Four in 10 did not seek help after a week or within a year of the incident while two in 10 kept quiet about it for up to 10 years.

About 30 percent of the sexual harassment cases happened in a private place such as a home and 10 percent took place in a public place.

Thirty-two cases were reported in the workplace. The report did not give comparable figures or percentage.   

RainLily executive director Linda Wong said the figures are alarming, specially on workplace-related abuse which averaged 10 a year and rose “significantly” last year.

She said many of the victims were afraid to say no if the abuser was a supervisor or a senior employee for fear of losing their job.

Some of the incidents turned to serious acts after being left unreported, Wong said.

Wong said victims should just say no and tell themselves they have done nothing wrong by refusing such advances.

The association has been ramping up its women’s protection measures including an app that allows the monitoring and reporting of gender violence.

The system uses satellite technology that lets victims call hospitals and the police for help immediately.

A “fake call” function gives would-be victims a chance to deter attackers.

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

BT/AC/RA

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