SlutWalk protesters will march from Chater Garden next Sunday to raise awareness about sexual violence and victim blaming. The annual march is part of an international movement against sexual violence.

In addition to taking aim at victim blaming, protesters will target the myth that sexual assault is a rare occurrence, and the myth that only attractive women and girls can be sexually assaulted.

SlutWalk 2016. File photo: Slutwalk Hong Kong.

Angie Ng, the organiser of SlutWalk Hong Kong, told HKFP that she is hoping for a larger turnout this year as people realise that sexual violence is an issue that touches everyone.

“With the #MeToo movement, I think a lot of us are seeing that many of us have actually been touched by sexual violence,” she said.

The hashtag appeared across Twitter last month, when actor Alyssa Milano asked people to tweet the words if they have ever been sexually harassed or assaulted to show the magnitude of the problem.

SlutWalk 2016. File photo: Slutwalk Hong Kong, via Facebook.

“I think that #MeToo hasn’t gotten as big in Hong Kong as it has in some other places, and there’s potential for it to get a lot bigger here… it really shatters the rape myth that “rape will not happen to me or anyone I know,” Ng said.

An opinion piece in state newspaper China Daily, published in October and taken down following outcry on social media, argued that “Chinese traditional values and conservative attitudes tend to safeguard women against inappropriate behaviour from members of the opposite gender.”

“It’s a misconception that also exists in Hong Kong,” Ng said.

Slutwalk 2016. Photo: Slutwalk Hong Kong.

Regarding the myth that only attractive women can be raped, Ng referred to a case in which the director of a care home was accused of having non-consensual sex with a woman with intellectual disability. The alleged perpetrator, the former director of the Bridge of Rehabilitation care home, portrayed himself as a victim in the case.

Cheung Kin-wah was recently quoted by Ming Pao as saying that he “intended to get my license back, get justice back,” when asked if he would renew his social worker’s registration.

“When women do not fit the ‘beauty standards’ set by society, standards that determine who is considered ‘desirable’ as a sex object, people do not believe they can be raped. Instead, people say that they wanted to be raped,” Ng said.

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Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.