Gender-Based Violence Prevention
Ending Gender Based Violence is Everyone’s Responsibility – Let’s Come Together to End Violence against Women

The concept “women’s rights are human rights” symbolizes a civilized social-cultural development within a country and serves as an important human right indicator in democratic countries. To protect women’s personal safety and free them from the threat of violence, the government collaborated with the private sector to construct a social safety net to end and prevent gender violence, promote gender equity education and break stereotype of gender discrimination erected by conventional thinking and media. All these efforts have made Taiwan the Number One country in Asia with advanced progress in human right protection.

Family Support – Constructing Domestic Violence Safety Net
Passed in 1998, the Domestic Violence Prevention Act in Taiwan, was the first of its kind in Asia to prevent domestic violence and breaks the myth “The state should stay out of marital affairs” that prevailed in traditional societies. Domestic violence is deemed as illegal behavior and the government is actively involved to end violence.
The effort to pass such domestic violence prevent law in Taiwan leads to not only to full-range protections for victims, including shelter, injury diagnosis and hospitalization, legal assistance psychological consultation and mental therapy, but adoption of advanced civil protection order system that is implemented in the US. In terms of the scope of application, besides family members within the fourth degree of kinship, former spouses, current or previous co-habitators are all included. Additionally, the scope has been extended to people in homosexual relationships to protect their interests.
Currently, most victims of domestic violence in Taiwan are still female, and of the 94,150 cases reported to the Ministry of the Interior in 2011, 72.8% victims are female. As for victims of marital violence, 87.3% are female. Considering that the number of male victims of domestic violence continued to rise over the years and to encourage people to seek assistance, the Ministry of the Interior set a male-care hotline: 0800-013-999 to offer counseling support. With the collaborative effort between the government and the private sector to construct the safety net of domestic violence, each family can flourish with love.

 

Prevention of Sexual Violence for Freedom from Fear with Body Autonomy
Each year, thousands of sexual assault cases are reported (about 11,120 cases were filed at the Ministry of the Interior in 2011, and 86.5% victims in those cases are female), but it is estimated that the number of such crimes that go unreported is much higher (about 7~10 times higher, according to crime prevention experts.) Based on the fundamental belief to protect personal safety and respect the freedom of body autonomy, the government in Taiwan has promulgated the Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act in 1997, amended the Chapter 16 in Criminal Code (Sexual Offenses) in 1999 and formulated the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act in 2005 to safeguard personal safety of the public and prevent threats of sexual abuse and harassment.
As revealed in developed countries in America and Europe, delivering justice to victims of sexual violence and respecting human rights are the most important indicators of countries ruled by laws. As a result of legal amendment (sexual offenses are no longer prosecuted only upon complaint) and improvement in evidence quality in the last decade, the prosecution rate in Taiwan largely increased from 18% in 2004 to 80% in 2011, and the government has been involved to protect judicial human rights and gender justice.

 

Rooting the Concept of Domestic Violence Prevention with Gender Equity Education Act to Protect Children’s Rights to Education
To create a safe learning environment and sex-discrimination-free campus, the Ministry of Education established the Committee for Gender Equity Education in 1997 (later renamed as the Gender Equity Education Committee), passed the Gender Equity Education Act in 2004 and aims to emphasize gender equality related education for children through means of regulation and education.
Each school will set its own sex equality committee based on laws and commits to building safe and friendly campus and learning environment to ensure that students of all genders, with different sexual orientation, and under all physical conditions (ex. pregnancy) are not discriminatorily treated and that their rights to education are protected. In terms of curriculum and extracurricular activities, all junior high schools and elementary schools should include gender equality and sexual assault prevention courses in their curriculums to cultivate students for their attitude of zero tolerance for gender discrimination and violence and practice the concept of respecting equality and value of diverse identities in their daily life.

 

Your Powerful Workplace Sidekick – Eliminating Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
Facing possible harm and sexual harassment at the workplace, the government promulgated the Gender Employment Equality Act in 2002. Specified in this Act, employers are obligated to take all measures possible to prevent sexual harassment and remedy consequences. No matter what type of sexual harassment occurs at the workplace, employers are required by this law to prevent the occurrence of sexual harassment, and anyone who violates this regulation will be fined between NT$100,000 to NT$500,000.
In the new era of sexual equality, we need to learn to respect the physical boundary and feelings of others and shape a friendly workplace that is free from sexual harassment.

 

Defending Human Rights and Ending Human Trafficking
Human trafficking can be divided into commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor and the extraction of organs or tissues. To prevent human trafficking and protect the rights of victims, the government promoted the Human Trafficking Prevention Act in 2009 and adopted the 5P strategy – Prosecution, Protection, Prevention, Partnership and Participation to enforce preventive and control measures. If potential and possible crimes are spotted, please call the National Immigration Agency’s reporting hotline (02) 23883095 (the phone number rhymes with “I miss my dad and place a call to save me” in Chinese,) National Police Agency at 110, or the 1955 hotline to Council of Labor Affairs to rescue the victims as soon as possible, and help to make Taiwan a true democratic country that defends human rights.

 

Huaxi Street Protest to Rescue Underage Prostitutes and Calls for Attention on Prevention of Child and Youth Sexual Transaction

The Taiwan headquarters of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan established the Rainbow House in 1986 under the Rainbow Project and started rescue effort to save underage prostitutes. The next year, women’s advocacy groups invited 32 women’s, aboriginal, human right and church groups to the “Protest against Human Trafficking – Caring for Child Prostitutes” event to march on the street, protest to save underage prostitutes and urge the government to initiate the Zhengfeng.

On January 9, 1988, the Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation joined forces with the Awakening Foundation and Rainbow Project again. They protested on the street to call for the emphasis of the public on the issue of underage prostitutes. Women’s advocacy groups immediately launched a series of protection and counseling initiatives, including the Lily Half-way House by the Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation and shelters offered to unfortunate teenage girls by the Garden of Hope under the Garden of Hope Foundation. Pushed forward by those efforts, the government passed the Child and Youth Sexual Transaction Prevention Act in 1995.

Former Taiwanese Comfort Women – Fighting for Women’s Rights and Justice across National Boundaries

In 1992, the Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation set up a complain hotline and started investigation on the issue of former Taiwan Wartime Comfort Women (sex slaves). At the time, Chingfeng Wang, attorney and President of Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation flew to Japan and Korea a number of times to collect relevant data and urged government to assemble the Interdepartmental Taiwan Wartime Comfort Women Project Taskforce. The Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation was commissioned by the taskforce to provide basic life support for victims and services for individual cases, launch litigation against Japan and fight for justice and compensation of the victims.

After field investigations, it was confirmed that 58 former Taiwan Comfort Women were severely ravaged by the Japanese army during the war, but according the victims and literature reviewed, at least 2,000 women in Taiwan were captured and mistreated as comfort women during the war. By 2011, only 13 comfort women survived.

 

Ruwen Deng Incident and Cry of Victims of Long Term Torture of Domestic Violence to Push for




The Deng Ruwen Incident occurred in October, 1993 in Taiwan. After women’s advocacy group, including the Awakening Foundation, Modern Women’s Foundation and Wan-ching Association, expressed their strong concern about the incident and supported Ruwen Deng, her verdict was commuted.

The Deng Ru-Wen Incident highlighted the lack of protection from the legal system for female victims suffering from marital violence and alerted society to seriously face up to the issue of domestic violence, and the government was urged to offer protective measures. The government allocated a special budget in 1994 and commissioned the Awakening Foundation to start the study of martial violence. In 1995, the Modern Women’s Foundation continued the effort and teamed up with Judge Fengxian Gao to draft the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, to spark discussion about amending domestic violence related laws and to push for the birth of such laws. The Domestic Violence Prevention Act was promulgated in 1998, making Taiwan the first country in Asia to adopt the Domestic Violence Prevention Act and civil protection order system.

 

Fury of Women’s Right Lighting the Way Rally – Ms. Wanru Reminded Us of the Need to Legislate Laws Regarding Women’s Right

The Wanru Peng Murder Case in 1996 shocked Taiwan and the personal safety of women since then became a concern of the public. More than 30 women’s advocacy groups, including the Awakening Foundation, Modern Women’s Foundation, Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation, Garden of Hope Foundation, Wan-ching Association and Good Shepherd Social Welfare Services, organized the “Fury of Women’s Right Lighting the Way Rally” and protested for women’s right to walk at night. Under the public pressure, the Legislative Yuan finally passed the Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act, the Ministry of Education established the Gender Equity Education Committee (known as Gender Equity Education Committee at the time), and the Executive Yuan also set up the Committee of Women’s Rights Promotion to formally incorporate the feminist movement into the national system.

Taiwan finally made it to the list of countries ruled by law and defending women’s right. The spirit of Ms. Wanru Peng will continue to glow in the feminist movement community.

 

Gender Diversity Education Initiated by Ma Vie En Rose to Transform from Two Gender based Equality to True Gender Equality

The Yongzhi Ye Incident in 2000 imacted and shocked the academic community, forcing education workers to face the educational practice of diverse genders and campus violence.

The Ministry of Education then launched the “New Campus Movement: Anti-Gender Violence” initiative, further renamed the Committee for Gender Equity Education to Gender EquityEducation Committee, drafted Sexual Equity Education Act to Gender Equity Education Act in the same year and shifted the focus of education policies from two gender based education to gender diversity based education.

 

White Rose Movement – Justice Finally Prevailed for Abused Female Victims

Originated in 2010, the White Rose Movement was a result of a series of unjust child sexual abuse trials that sparked rage of the public. Online activists launched relevant campaigns on Facebook and established the Justice League, an online club, and about 300,000 Facebook users signed up for the effort. Immediately after, this movement moved from the cyber world to the real world, and the White Rose Movement was launched to protest against mistrials and ridiculous verdicts. Women’s advocacy groups, including the Garden of Hope Foundation and Modern Women’s Foundation also joined to support them and appeal for the child protection in the judicial system.

Pressured by the White Rose Movement, the Ministry of Justice reviewed the Sexual Offenses Chapter in the Criminal Code and urged the Judicial Yuan to revisit the topics of professional court, expert witness, judge reeducation, in a hope to offer practical judicial and human rights protection for abused victims and children.

 

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