Crowds marched in Central on Sunday under the slogan “My body, my choice,” to protest against sexual violence and victim blaming as part of Hong Kong’s 7th annual SlutWalk.
“No means no,” and “my dress is not a yes,” were among the chants at the 100-strong demonstration, attended by members of the political party League of Social Democrats.
Attendees this year focused on the #MeToo and #ThisIsNotConsent movements, which take aim at widespread sexual harassment, particularly in the workplace. The hashtags spread on Twitter last year after a number of high-profile celebrities encouraged survivors to tweet about their experiences with sexual harassment so as to highlight the magnitude of the problem.
‘Your body, your choice’
SlutWalk is a transnational movement that began in Canada in 2011 after Toronto Police Constable Michael Sanguinetti said that women should avoid “dressing like sluts” in order to not be victimised.
Angie Ng founded SlutWalk Hong Kong the same year, inspired by the international backlash against Sanguinetti’s comments: “Sexual violence and victim blaming are not unique to Hong Kong, and Hong Kong is neither one of the best places nor one of the worst places for victims, but we have a long way to go,” she told HKFP.
1,019 indecent assault cases were reported in 2016, compared to 1,077 in 2017, and 749 from January to August in 2018, according to police statistics. In comparison, the number of people arrested for indecent assault rose from 757 in 2016 to 791 in 2017, and stands at 523 from January to August 2018.
Ng told HKFP that she wore a thong outside of her clothing to show solidarity with the #ThisIsNotConsent movement: “The #ThisIsNotConsent movement is more focused on victim blaming and the rape myth that women deserve to be raped or are ‘asking for it’ by dressing in a certain way. So SlutWalk and #ThisIsNotConsent are more obviously connected,” she said.
In keeping with the slogan “your body, your choice,” the march had no dress code.
A long way to go
Last November, a Hong Kong athlete accused her former coach of sexually assaulting her during a massage when she was a junior secondary school student. The 77-year-old coach was found not guilty after the judge found reasonable doubt in the evidence, in what was the city’s first #MeToo court case last month.
This year, protesters began marching at the Court of Final Appeal in Central, to protest the ruling. Ng said that the decision was disappointing and that blame had been placed on the victim: “It shows how far we still have to go,” she told HKFP.
Ng was included in the BBC’s list of 100 most influential and innovative women last year.