At the end of Sexual Assault Awareness month, we mark the one year anniversary of TWF’s #MakePeopleCount campaign.
Over the course of a month, it garnered 250,000 net views and free ad space in the MTR reaching approximately 1.76 million passengers daily. Since that time, our video and resources site have been shared by businesses, chambers of commerce, NGOs, universities, and influencers, coupled by our public virtual events on Tackling Sexual Harassment in all Workplaces and Cybersexual Violence. The campaign has successfully raised awareness around the prevalence of sexual violence in Hong Kong—breaking the taboo, encouraging people to see victims as real people who need support, boosting preventive measures and enhancing support available to victim-survivors. Its continued relevance echoes in both global and local developments on this issue.
In Hong Kong, we have seen some positive developments. Updates to the anti-discrimination ordinances included increased protections against sexual harassment in the workplace. New laws on voyeurism and upskirting photography will come into effect later this year, helped by public consensus. We welcomed the EOC’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Hotline and the encouraging findings from their Report on the Formulation of Anti-Sexual Harassment Policies of National Sports Associations (NSAs) in Hong Kong 2020.
Organisations and individuals are also finding creative ways to address this issue. We applaud RainLily’s hard hitting new campaign #OneInSeven, referring to the fact that 1 in 7 women in Hong Kong has experienced sexual violence. We are heartened by new tools like Facebook’s SheLeads Guide created to equip women leaders with the tools they need to use Facebook and Instagram effectively and safely as well as the launch of social media platforms like @frontlinefeminists which enables victim-survivors to tell their stories and provides information and related news – a model inspired by the supportive community the founder had as a victim-survivor.
These positive developments mirror bright spots regionally and internationally. Critical anti-sexual harassment legislation was adopted in Mainland China. In South Korea, perpetrators are facing justice for cyber sexual crimes. There were widespread public protests and calls for reform in Australia, the UK and the USA sparked by separate acts of gender-based violence.
However, much remains to be done to address sexual violence against women and girls, and Hong Kong is no exception. We need wholesale strategic reform – as a priority, this includes the adoption of critical updates to the law for substantive sexual offences proposed by the Hong Kong Law Reform Commission. Our education system needs updating in how it teaches concepts like gender-based violence and consent. Media, regulatory and industry bodies need to promote responsible, victim-centred and gender-sensitive reporting of sexual violence. And we all must do our part to continue to kindle the flame of urgency around tackling this critical human rights issue.
Our #MakePeopleCount campaign serves as a foundation for our continued work to encourage more open dialogues around this issue and enable the community to better understand the role each of us – as institutions, businesses and individuals – play in changing an environment that has, for too long, ignored and perpetuated sexual violence.
Get in touch at Fiona.Nott@twfhk.org.