The Control Yuan has found that the lower-than-expected number of sexual harassment reports related to sports teams and classes at senior high school level and below in Taiwan is reason for concern, as it likely indicates the under-reporting of cases.
Several members of the Control Yuan, Taiwan's top government watchdog body, drew their conclusion in a recent report after investigating sexual harassment reports from sports departments at high school level and below.
The investigation determined that from 2014-2021, 51,304 cases of sexual harassment and assault were reported by such schools in Taiwan.
Of these, there were 46,913 reports of improper conduct between students and 2,949 cases involving teaching staff and students.
Of the documented cases, 548 involved sexual harassment accusations relating to school sports teams and classes.
According to the Control Yuan members participating in the investigation, the report does not indicate sexual harassment or assault occurs more frequently in sports classes than any other classes.
However, the report noted that the Ministry of Education is currently unable to provide information on the number of students enrolled in school sports teams. As a result, it is impossible to accurately calculate the proportion of sports related sexual harassment cases compared to the number of people involved, they said.
This revelation is concerning as the findings suggest a high probability that such incidents are being unreported, they added.
This conclusion was reached after consulting with professionals and experts, such as psychologists and guidance counselors, who work in related fields, according to the Control Yuan.
These experts suggested that the likelihood of unreported cases is high due to such traditions as hazing, bullying, and an athlete's fear of expulsion from his or her team.
According to the Control Yuan, some of the experts consulted even provided real-life examples of students reporting their experiences at school only after reaching college and enduring years of psychological and emotional torment.
The Control Yuan also revealed that one of the reasons the report was written was in response to the fallout from one of Taiwan's earliest #MeToo moments in sport, when victims were denied justice because the statute of limitations had expired on the crimes committed against them.
On March 9, 2018, a woman accused her former school gymnastics coach of rape. As a result, three other former students came forward and accused the same coach of sexual misconduct.
The coach, Liang Mei-tsung (???), was a national award-winning gymnast himself, and coached at several elementary schools after retiring.
When the case came to court, Liang was sentenced to six years and 10 months in prison in March 2021, after being found guilty of one charge of forced sexual intercourse and one charge of obscenity, with the possibility of appealing.
Liang did not have to stand trial based on the allegations of the two other accusers as their accusations fell outside the statute of limitation.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel