Exhibition raised public attention on combating image-based sexual violence
With the increasing popularity of electronic technology, offences involving image-based sexual violence with electronic devices become frequent. Although the sexual assault does not involve physical contact, it is capable of causing the victims immense distress and even significant adverse psychological impacts. Supported by the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Association’s Women Affairs Department organised the "I-watching Programme" to increase public awareness of image-based sexual violence through a series of activities. In late March, a two-day public exhibition was held to discuss body autonomy in women, displaying information and survey results about sexual violence, and inviting visitors’ interaction at the booths and inside the installation.
What is “Image-based sexual violence”?
Image-based sexual violence refers to the following behaviours, without the person's consent:
1. Taking intimate images
2. Distributing, sharing and circulating intimate images, including non-consensual distribution of consensually taken images or videos
3. Threatening or blackmailing the distribution of intimate images
4. Sexualised photoshopping one’s body part onto a pornographic image
5. Sending nude photographs or images that show the genital area
An "intimate image" shows:
A person’s intimate parts of the body, whether bare or covered by underwear, such as sex organ, buttocks, breasts, etc.
A darkroom was built at the exhibition to enhance the public’s understanding for the victims of image-based sexual violence. The simulated shutter sound and flash of the camera in the room allowed visitors to experience the hard feeling of being secretly photographed. There was also a short film about self-defence, teaching basic skills suitable for women to protect themselves in case of attack.
To understand how severe the problem of image-based sexual violence is in Hong Kong, the Women Affairs Department conducted a survey with 450 citizens in February and March this year. 7% reported experience of image-based sexual violence, of which more than 52% involved clandestine photography; more than 26% involved voyeurism; 23% were even threatened and blackmailed the distribution of their intimate images. Facing image-based sexual violence, most people ask for help, while 54% express refusal to the offender immediately and 52% call the police. However, it is alarming that nearly 30% of the respondents confessed to not knowing how to react or even pretending that nothing happened.
Since the existing laws are not sufficient to deal with the crimes concerning image-based sexual violence, Glocal Y wrote to the Security Bureau earlier, calling on the authorities to amend the legislation as soon as possible to enhance the deterrent effect. Dispatching subsidies to primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong for holistic gender education was also suggested so that children learn about gender equality at an early age.