Taipei, An expert specialized in helping victims of sexual abuse called on the public Sunday to take the issue of male rape seriously after a Taiwanese comedian and a Taipei city councilor both recently shared their experiences of being rape victims when they were young.
Wang Yue-hao (王玥好), executive director of Taiwan’s Garden of Hope Foundation, told CNA that due to local gender stereotyping, people tend to see men as strong and therefore not subject to rape or sexual violence.
Rape and sexual assault are not issues that only affect women, Wang said.
Wang, who has three decades of counseling experience, said she has offered counseling to male victims of sexual attack, and even though they may be taller and stronger on the outside, they are still vulnerable to verbal or physical intimidation and threats.
She cited government numbers showing that the proportion of men who have reported sexual assault has increased significantly over the past decade.
According to Ministry of Health and Welfare numbers, only about 3 percent to 5 percent of reported sexual assault victims were male 10 years ago. The percentage of reported cases had increased to around 10 percent in 2019, Wang noted.
The rising number of reports from men could also mean that more male sexual abuse victims are willing to seek help, she added.
To meet the increasing demand, Wang said her foundation has set up a hotline for men seeking counseling.
Wang said it takes tremendous courage for a male sexual abuse victim to seek help or share their pain with their friends or relatives.
She therefore called on family members and friends of male victims to trust their stories while expressing a caring attitude toward them and offering help.
They should also avoid sharing the intimate stories of such victims to others, which could further traumatize them, she added.
Wang made the comments in response to a confession by Taiwanese standup comedian Brian Tseng (曾博恩), who last week disclosed that he was a victim of rape multiple times during his days in elementary and high school.
Tseng, however, did not elaborate on whether his assailants were men or women and did not provide more details of the assaults.
Tseng also said that as a victim of rape, he believes one can let go of the painful past and move on.
Showing support for Tseng, Taipei City Councilor Chiu Wei-chieh (邱威傑), better known as a YouTuber who goes by the name “Froggy,” also disclosed Saturday that he too was a victim of rape when he was only 10 years old in elementary school.
In a Facebook post, Chiu said the incident took place at a hospital and that his attacker was a man at least 10 years older than him.
Chiu said he did not tell anyone about the incident until years later because traditionally, people in Taiwan do not think men can be victims of sexual assault.
Sexual assault is an act in which a person coerces another person to engage in a sexual act against their will, and it is a painful experience whether the victim is a man or a woman, he added.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel