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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 2:21am
NewsHong Kong

Half of students in Hong Kong 'sexually harassed', survey reveals

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 March, 2013, 8:53am

Half the Hong Kong students in a recent survey said they have been sexually harassed, the Equal Opportunities Commission reported yesterday, criticising the anti-harassment law as a "paper tiger" because it's seldom wielded.

The EOC survey, conducted in 2011, found that 3,000 of 6,000 students interviewed had experienced harassment. Its definition of sexual harassment ranges from seeing objectionable graffiti to suggestive name-calling to actual physical assault.

The Hong Kong findings are part of a global trend, with surveys around the world showing sexual harassment in schools to be a growing phenomenon.

Around 50 per cent of 3,400 Swedish primary schoolers had experienced offensive sexual name-calling, according to a 2002 survey by the Swedish National Agency for Education. The American Association of University Women has found that 89 per cent of girls and 70 per cent of boys experienced sexual harassment in secondary school.

The Hong Kong survey canvassed students from Primary Four to university level on what they consider to be sexual harassment and whether they have experienced it. The youngest pupil to report being sexually harassed was 10 years old. The largest grouping of cases was in the secondary-school age group.

What is worrying is that many of the students accept sexual harassment as part of the school culture or part of 'growing up'

Before 2008, Hong Kong's Sexual Harassment Ordinance defined the offence as actions such as touching and assault. That year the government amended the definition to include hostile environments created by, for example, verbal harassment - similar to the British and Australian definitions.

But no concrete action has been taken to educate the public or equip schools to deal with the problem, said Dr John Tse Wing-ling, convenor of the commission's policy and research committee. "Right now, it's just a paper-tiger ordinance," he said. "What is worrying is that many of the students accept sexual harassment as part of the school culture or part of 'growing up'."

Acceptance of sexual harassment increases with age, from a low of 11 per cent among children to 27 per cent among teenagers and 44 per cent among adults.

The EOC received 114 complaints about sexual harassment last year - the most in five years - but the number is only the tip of a huge iceberg, said Dr Ferrick Chu Chung-man, the commission's head of policy and research.



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This article is now closed to comments

The requirement is so broad and encompasses so many areas that I agree with aplucky1. Stick to a standard that has meaning and not try and make it so everyone can relate to at least each one.
There are so many days in a year and so many yeas in a life that at some point something within the list will happen to you. I am only surprised that it is not 100%.
Pick meaningful data and report on that.
lets put them all in jail
cry babies
Human right laws in HK are so backward that it devoid and deprived the basic dignity a person ought to have whether in schools or in workplaces. Harassment comes in many forms be it verbal, physical, gestural, sexual, racial, ...etc. A dear friend of mine just resigned today from a notable listed company. In the past half year, she was abused sexually, approached by some director class hotshot offering her an indecent proposal while her chest was being discussed among his circle of raunchy friends. She was mentally abused by her immediate supervisor by daily bombardment of degrading remarks and unwarranted curses and a pool of secretary ganged on her with occasional chinese F word and borderline threats of battery. That said, all of them would be put to trial if any of these I described above happened in the States and probably any European countries. It's a felony (in layman term meaning criminal) to harass a worker in any way I listed above and the penalty is a possible jail term. Yeah even the President of the US would be on trial for impeachment in any wrongdoings but in HK, anyone could be an untouchable dictator with enough cash and power. Human rights here? don't make me laugh
Did you compare the stats with US? If Hong Kong is backward, the United States is not even human.
The American Association of University Women has found that 89 per cent of girls and 70 per cent of boys experienced sexual harassment in secondary school.
89%? that is almost EVERY GIRL. If there is one area America does not discriminate, it is harassment.
Aren't you glad you have found reliable statistics from some association in the US without being impeded by politics. That is an American foundation ? no ? that is democracy! What reliable resources can you relate to that give a percentage of abuses besides this article that might have just begun to scratch the surface of the problem. HK pales in comparison in terms of transparency when it comes to scandals. There're are more skeletons in the closet and that this city has just evolved to be made aware that there is a larger can of worms waiting to be opened.
From the official press release:
"The Study revealed that 50% of the interviewed students had experienced various forms of sexual harassment such as sexual jokes, sexual propositions, indecent gestures, inappropriate touching and showing pornography. Among them, 97% of the victims expressed that the harassers were their “boy / girl friends” (referring to non consensual conduct of a sexual nature), 21% were classmates and 14% were friends. [...] It was found that when being sexually harassed, [...] students were affected psychologically and emotionally. The respondents indicated that they felt angry (40%), scared (38%) and could not relate well to others (36%)." [1]
[1] ****www.eoc.org.hk/eoc/GraphicsFolder/ShowContent.aspx?ItemID=11195


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