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  • WSRC

Puja Kapai: 'Sexual Assault Acquittal Undermines Victims' Confidence

Updated: May 13, 2021

A court found a former athletics coach not guilty of sexually assaulting a teenage girl a decade ago.

WSRC’s Convenor and associate professor of law Puja Kapai spoke on RTHK Radio 3’s Newswrap about the case:

‘I’m extremely disappointed that the seeds of doubt that [the magistrate] has relied on actually echoed the very concerns that many victims have about coming forward in the first place about whether they’d be believed and second-guessed in the choices that they make particularly in terms of how they respond to an attack while it’s ongoing and also after…it just echoed for many victims the kind of retraumatisation they fear and they do experience and are challenged by.’

‘I think what people fail to see is #MeToo is really a call to pay attention to the structural forces which undermine victim’s ability to speak about their truth…at every point of reporting – if you tell your families, or friends, or colleagues, even the police and now in the legal process, in the court of law, you are regularly confronting victim stereotypes, rape myths, and gendered ideas about how women should behave.’

‘Generally the environment, the conditions in Hong Kong are not conducive to encouraging such reporting because the frontline responders just don’t know how to handle it. And what they say is invariably going to impact whether or not a person decides to come forward because costs are too great and the outcomes are completely disheartening.’

‘[What we need is] education throughout, all the way and not just one-off, but persistent education and using these examples to really bring home the point that victims have a huge mountain of [a voluminous resistance] to overcome across the board. So depending on them or expecting them to take the plunge to initiate the complaint and to go through the process – it’s a lot to ask for where others in the community are not prepared to do their part.

Listen to the full podcast here.

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