Focus Taiwan_Public urged to support Denim Day and raise sexual assault awareness

Focus Taiwan_Public urged to support Denim Day and raise sexual assault awareness

Taipei, April 20 (CNA) Modern Women's Foundation, a local women's group, on Friday urged Taiwanese to join with people across the world in wearing jeans on Denim Day, April 25, to raise awareness of sexual violence and express solidarity with rape victims.

Many victims of sexual assault are afraid to speak out even today because many myths about sexual violence are still widely accepted in society, according to the foundation, which released a survey Friday detailing attitudes to sexual assault.

The survey showed that 65 percent of all respondents and 70 percent of male respondents agree that a woman bears some responsibility for being sexually assaulted if she is too casual in her behavior, wears sexy clothing or frequents nightclubs.

A total of 61 percent of all respondents believe that sexual assault victims contribute to their attack by failing to adequately protect themselves, according to the survey. The figure is 67 percent among male respondents.

Survey results show that men endorse such ideas more than women.

A total of 66 percent of male respondents believe a woman wants to have sex if she is alone in a room with a man, while 64 percent of men believe a woman wants to have sex if she wears sexy clothes. About 48 percent and 46 percent of female respondents held the same view, respectively.

Fan Kuo-yung (范國勇), CEO of the foundation, said the survey shows that a majority of people in Taiwan still have many misconceptions about sexual assault.

It is normal social behavior for a woman to visit nightclubs, drink alcohol and be alone with a man, and it does not necessarily mean she wants to have sex, Fan said.

The survey, conducted between March 29 and April 5, collected 1,111 valid samples from respondents over the age of 15. It has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.
The foundation urged people in Taiwan to upload photos of themselves wearing jeans to their social media pages on April 25, and add the hashtag #onlyYESmeansYES, a reference to the idea of affirmative consent, to their posts.

Denim Day originated in the 1990s in Italy when the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction on the grounds that the jeans worn by the victim were too tight to have been removed by the suspect alone, implying the woman must have consented.

The case took place in 1992 and involved an 18-year-old woman who accused her 45-year-old driving instructor of rape.

Since then, people around the world have worn jeans on Denim Day to show their solidarity with victims of sexual violence and speak out against victim-blaming. 

(By Christie Chen)