A Hong Kong district councillor has spoken out about her experience with sexual harassment, joining countless woman across the world sharing their experiences at the hands of predatory men with the “me too” hashtag.
Clarisse Yeung Suet-ying from the Tai Hang constituency on the Wan Chai District Council posted on Facebook last night that she was harassed last week when she was buying takeout.
In the post she said: “This person standing behind me deliberately ‘bumped’ into me, after that he pretended it was an accident”.
“After the incident, my mind went blank and I started to feel very emotional,” she said, adding that she also felt “at a loss”, “helpless”, and “angry”.
She wrote that she decided to calm down and call the police. As the shop did not have CCTV, she looked back a few times to remember the man’s face and noticed he was behind her and at one point hid in the lobby of another downstairs building when she turned around. Police arrived at the scene a few minutes later and they arrested the man. Yeung has given a statement to the police, and also decided to press charges.
Yeung said: “If I did not act decisively in that moment, it would have been harder to sue him, he would have committed more crimes, and there would have been more victims.”
Speaking to Coconuts Hong Kong, Yeung said she decided to talk about the incident because she wanted more people to speak out about their experiences of sexual harassment and called on others to help those who are being harassed.
Yeung explained that in Chinese culture, talking about sexual harassment can bring shame on the individual.
“I talked to many people – female or male – they have both experienced similar abuse, and I think this kind of thing happens in our city very often, but we rarely speak about it.
“I think that it is wrong because the whole thinking should not be blaming the victims, the one we should blame is the one who is doing such unrespectful, and harmful and selfish things, there should be some punishment on them.”
Yeung told Coconuts Hong Kong that she felt “very uncomfortable” when giving her statement to the police, and said the government should introduce more training and guidance for officers handling sexual harassment claims, adding that officers need to be more empathetic when asking for statements from victims.
“Because maybe they know that I am a district councillor so they treated me better I guess, but I am worried about the people who are so helpless, maybe their situation is much worse than me.
“[Victims] need more mental support when they are talking about the case, and I think the government should put some more resources in it.”
Yeung was elected as a district councillor in the 2015 elections. Although she stood as an independent, she was known as one of the so-called “umbrella soldiers” who stood for election after the Umbrella Movement ended in 2014.
The #metoo movement has seen countless women have shared their experiences of sexual harassment and assault online along with the hashtag.
It began in the wake of a recent New York Times exposé detailing dozens of sexual harassment and assault complaints made against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who used his power to bully aspiring actresses into sexual favours.
Speaking to Coconuts Singapore yesterday, Singaporean actress and model Ase Wang told of her own experience with the disgraced film producer, recalling how she was invited to Weinstein’s hotel room — his alleged modus operandi — when he dropped by Bangkok in 2007 to oversee a film shoot.
Aware of his reputation, Wang avoided accepting the invitation, but said she was shocked when Weinstein’s assistants later asked her if she had any friends she could send instead.