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Go the Second Mile, #MeToo March, GOH Stands Behind You 2018/05/25
GOH organized a #MeToo March at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

This is an extremely touching moment! And a moment that we are all proud of!” The first demonstration in Taiwan in support of the #MeToo Movement, which has become a global phenomenon, was held at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall on 21st April. It was titled “Go the Second Mile, #MeToo March, GOH Stands Behind You”. Around 2,000 people wore masks and marched under the hot sun and around CKS Memorial Hall for two kilometers. They spoke out for every child and woman in Taiwan who suffered from sexual assault and encouraged those victims to tell their stories.

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Garden of Hope Foundation (GOH). So it was especially meaningful to return to the site where the starting line of the “Ten Thousand People Race Against Child Prostitution on Huaxi Street” was located in 1993. Participants in the march gathered in Liberty Square at 9am, and GOH CEO Hui-Jung Chi kicked off the event with her opening remarks, stating that for 30 years GOH has worked hard on a number of issues, including saving underage girls from sexual exploitation, spearheading the anti-child prostitution movement, serving women who were sexually assaulted, and shattering gender myths. Through its fight for reforms on gender justice, GOH was never alone, receiving support from various people and organizations in society. However, it is regretful that there are forces of injustice at work that are destroying the support network for victims of sexual discrimination and sexual violence and preventing these victims from speaking out. So we must obtain justice for these victims and fight the systemic inequity in society, in particular in the judicial system and media. We must let the perpetrators be exposed, give the victims sufficient support, and ensure that justice is carried out. Ms. Chi asked everyone to extend their index fingers to signal the number “one”, which symbolizes the One Billion Rising (OBR) Movement launched by women rights advocate Eve Ensler against sexual violence.

In order to crush gender and sexual violence, GOH asked all participants of the march to wear masks during the march. The march around CKS Memorial took around 40 minutes, and brought everyone back to the starting point. Back at the starting point, everyone was told to throw their marks into the air and shout the following slogans: “One, #MeToo March, we stand behind you”, “Two, remember the first seeds of hope and end sexual violence”, “Three, I will not be silent because it is not my fault”, “Four, stop blaming the victim”, “Five, my body my choice”, “Six, you are not alone for I am here”, “Seven, MeToo, With You”, and “ Eight, gender justice walks with me.” The shouting of these powerful messages brought the event to its climax.

Ms. Chi explained that the mask represents the gender branding each person has to carry, and throwing away the marks symbolizes the casting away of stereotypes and branding associated with gender and sexual harm. It also implies that every victim of gender/sexual violence and discrimination can be reborn with the support of society, and reach the “second mile” of this new life. Many countries have broken through these limits with their #MeToo movements by listening to the victims and exposing the perpetrators. But the #MeToo Movement has yet to take off in Taiwan, and the purpose of the march is to topple this metaphorical wall. Ms. Chi also expressed her hope that this #MeToo March will remind people of GOH’s determination and passion in fighting against child prostitution in the past. In order to refresh the memory of some people and allow others who did not take part in the historical event to learn about the anti-child prostitution movement, GOH set up a photography wall right in front of the main gate in Liberty Square, displaying the historical and memorable photos of the Ten Thousand Race. As a response to the current global #MeToo Movement, this march had special meaning because of its link to past movements that supported victims of sexual exploitation.

Ms. Chi invited the 2,000 participants to applaud and cheer for their act of chivalry and participation, and to thank all the fellow companions who were standing closing to you. She emphasized that the end of this march marks the beginning of a series of new promises from GOH to all women and children who were victimized by sexual violence and gender violence; there is a clear message sent to these women and children: “You are not alone, and it is not your fault.”

Immediately after the march, a special fair was set up in Liberty square to commemorate the 30th anniversary of GOH. Aside from Taiwan, participants came from countries such as the Philippines, United States, Singapore, and China. Booths in the fair included an experience zone for gender situations and an exhibition showing the achievements of the GOH’s service work. The experience zone included a section inviting men to wear high heels and fake pregnant bellies, a section for V-Men action experience, a section for male emotions experience, and a section for OBR experience. The achievement exhibition displayed the service programs of all GOH branch offices, including exhibits of photographs and paintings.

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