What I read #2

In a column, I read that almost one out of four students at Hong Kong universities has experienced some form of sexual harrassment in the past year. The writer pointed out the importance of sex education, as learning from cheesy soap operas and sexist internet porn, students can develop warped conceptions of sex, stereotypical thinking about gender roles, and a lack of empathy towards minority groups. This expresses itself in forms as misinterpreting consent, bystanders remaining silent or even blaming the victim, women being objectified, the false belief that it won't happen to men, and LGBTI students and those with disabilities being more likely to get harrassed. Moreover, not understanding what can be considered as sexual harrassment (not recognizing what forms it can play out), and not knowing where to go with the complaints (poorly promoted or lacking complaint-handling mechanism), makes sexual harassment a trivialized and underreported problem.

Not only in Hong Kong, but I think this applies to many places in the world. Most women and men probably just shrug it off or believe that it is normal, part of life, and you just put up with it. But no, it is not. We don't need to go on with something that is just plain out wrong nor do we need to pass these false beliefs on to the following generations. Change is possible. I know it is scary to interrupt the normal life and break out of old habits, but don't you want your own children and future grandchildren to have the best life possible and to do whatever you can to create a better world for them to live in? The #metoo movement is already trying the break the iron grip of powerful people who abuse their power to take advantage of the vulnerable. May it be, a naive and inexperienced newcomer, a young, unsuspecting pupil, or the people who cannot defend themselves due to financial problems, health and/or mental problems, and fear of retaliation. But we also need the other people in their lives to be educated and well-rounded persons to prevent them from being harmed by sexual harrassment.

Source: "Hong Kong’s universities have a sexual harassment problem, but don’t blame young people", column by Alfred C. M. Chan, South China Morning Post, international edition, Hong Kong, 4-2-2019.

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