• Fri
  • Oct 24, 2014
  • Updated: 12:42am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 May, 2013, 4:10am

We need a sober view of sexual violence

BIO

Alex Lo is a senior writer at the South China Morning Post. He writes editorials and the daily “My Take” column on page 2. He also edits the weekly science and technology page in Sunday Morning Post.
 

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto and our own security chief Lai Tung-kwok have much in common. Both men have caused public outrage this month with their comments related to violence against women.

After half a century of the sexual and gender equality revolution, it's remarkable how powerful and well-educated men in Asia still go about life as if nothing has changed.

Lai started a furore this week when he suggested women should drink less while socialising to avoid being sexually assaulted. His remarks led to calls for an apology from women's groups. So far, he has made contrite remarks which stopped short of a full apology.

Earlier, Hashimoto said the Japanese army's use of Asian women as sex slaves during the second world war amounted to a military "necessity". That remark predictably provoked outrage among Japan's Asian neighbours.

To make sure he offends everyone, the Japanese mayor also suggested American soldiers stationed in Okinawa should frequent local sex workers more so they would commit fewer rapes against women civilians. Hashimoto was forced to make an apology of sort. But he also hit back at Washington's criticism of his sex slaves remark yesterday, saying American soldiers had also abused Japanese women during their post-war occupation of Japan.

Lai and Hashimoto seem to hold a Neanderthal view of male sexuality, though the Japanese politician is clearly much more offensive. This view holds that men have sexual urges that are aggressive, violent and uncontrollable, and that they come in quantities. They have to be worked off or be allowed to dissipate. Otherwise, they build up and explode in uncontrollable acts of violence. That's why Lai thinks women would be less provocative to men if they drink less. And for Hashimoto, American and Japanese soldiers had to work off their urges one way or another. That's the "necessity" he was referring to.

Feminists have rightly demolished this view a long time ago. It is a socially constructed story, not biology. For sure, there are men who can't control themselves and need help, but they are a tiny minority. Most men can well restrain themselves if they are taught early on that sexual aggression is unacceptable.

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shouken
Comfort women = sex slaves? What if there were women who willingly dovote a portion of their lives to their fellow country men in arduous (life&death) military service to their country as a form of sacrifice to the nation? The presence of comfort women probably did effectively reduce victimization of many local women. I see nothing wrong in this practice of recruiting comfort women to serve their country provided the ladies serve voluntarily.
cindyyv
I am sickened by the last 2 comments. In Snake Eyes analogy, I suppose you can also say that it would be the parents fault, should a child be sexually assaulted by a pedophile. It is so obvious a case of blaming the victim rather than blaming the aggressor. In blaming the victim, Mr Lai is condoning the behaviour of rapists and mitigating their offence by blaming the victim. For example, he may well have said, "she deserved to be raped because she was wearing a very short and sheer dress". What Hong Kong needs is social education in school, which obviously the last 2 posters lack.
shouken
" he may well have said"? You are putting words into Lai's mouth, your own words. If your parents tell you to avoid going to dark places after nightfall, do you suppose that they are condoning bad elements who might rob, rape, or attack you?
Dai Muff
People do stupid things and make wrong decisions when drunk. Decisions that leave them vulnerable. If a man walks into a Wanchai bar, gets drunk, and discovers in the morning that someone has taken thousands of dollars off his credit card to buy a drink for every "girl" in the place, it is not "blaming the victim" to advise him that if he'd kept his wits about him the chances of this happening might be reduced. Nor would the whole incident be used to condemn ALL women like some misandrists of both sexes like to use rapists to condemn ALL men.
 
 
 
 
 

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