Misogynist academic working for neoliberal think tank thinks decriminalising the sex industry will lower rape rates

The academic in question is Catherine Hakim, who is evidently still trying to push her bizarre and misogynistic theory of ‘erotic capital’ onto the world and has teamed up with the right-wing neoliberal think tank Institute of Economic Affairs to try to do it.

Hakim’s theory is basically this: men want sex, women don’t, so women should sell it to men (or something like that, her ideas don’t seem to be very well thought out).

Hakim must think rape is about men not being able to control their sexuality, rather than it being a premeditated act of dominance – why else argue that a ‘sexual outlet’ in prostitution would help lower rates? The argument here is contradictory, she claims that porn and prostitution do no social harm, porn is freely available, so why still all the rapes?

Hakim/IEA are obviously trying to ride on Amnesty’s coattails to publicise their report. The quality of the research must be dire, Hakim claims that rape has gone up in Sweden post-abolitionist model, it hasn’t, reporting has gone up, plus the legal definition of rape is wider in Sweden, so more things get recorded. There is an estimated reporting rate of 20% in Sweden, which is poor, but still twice the reporting rate in the UK.

Hakim also claims that Spain has very low rates of rape. I have downloaded her report from the IEA, searched through the document for the term ‘spain’ and found no source for her claim, she also says in the same paragraph (on p27), that Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand have “exceptionally low rates for rape and sexual assault” she doesn’t make it clear whether she is talking actual numbers of rapes (which can be estimated by crime surveys) or reported rapes, neither does she acknowledge that rape is vastly under-reported everywhere.

In the same paragraph she blames Sweden’s high number of reported rapes on Sweden having “a profoundly sex-negative politically correct culture” and emphasises that the increase in reported rapes are what she calls “date rapes” – she is insinuating that it is all prudish women ‘crying rape’.

[EDIT: Re-reading this, she is saying that Sweden’s abolitionist approach to prostitution and ‘sex negativity’ is directly responsible for date rape – so she is saying that men are committing rape because prudish, repressed women aren’t putting out they way they should, and men then just can’t help but rape them.]

Hakim was disowned by the LSE after the publication of Honey Money, she’s obviously found her level among the neoliberals.

Hey, Amnesty International, and other sex industry advocates, these are your natural allies!

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12 responses

  1. Here is the full paragraph from p27 of Hakim’s report:

    Sweden has the highest rate of reported rape in Europe – about 63 per 100,000 inhabitants. One-third of Swedish women report sexual assaults by the time they leave their teens. A 2010 Amnesty report on the Nordic countries notes that the number of reported rapes had quadrupled over the preceding 20 years in Sweden, many involving ‘date rape’. Statistics on rape and sexual assault are notoriously slippery due to variations in definition and reporting. Possibly, Swedish women are very energetic in reporting sexual assaults. But this is also a country that is doing its best to eliminate the sex industry, and has a profoundly sex-negative politically correct culture (Lewin 2000: 17). Countries such as Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, where the sex industry flourishes (even when technically illegal) have exceptionally low rates for rape and sexual assault. Within Europe, Spain, where prostitution is legal, also has exceptionally low rates of rape.

  2. Why did Amnesty International, in 2010 decide to specifically research rape in the Nordic countries? There is no equivalent report on rape in the Netherlands, Germany or New Zealand; or for the UK for that matter – why single those countries out for specific attention?

    Could this have been a deliberate and cynical ploy to discredit the ‘Nordic Model’ approach to prostitution? The pimp Douglas Fox was active in AI since 2008, so it is not beyond the realms of possibility.

  3. Very interesting. Thanks for all your coverage.

  4. The idea that Sweden is ‘sex negative’ is a bizarre one, this is the country that has dancing penis and vulva in children’s sex education cartoons:

    https://antipornfeminists.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/qotd-snoppen-och-snippan/

    Hakim is obviously conflating anti-sexism with being ‘anti-sex’, she is deeply conservative and reactionary in all her views.

  5. Oh look, Japan has a massive child porn/child sex abuse problem:

    While no link has been made between anime, manga and child abuse, Japan is facing a “serious” child abuse problem, according to a White Paper issued by e National Police Agency in March.

    The paper said the number of child abuse victims jumped 20% between 2011 and 2012, and the number of victims, arrests and cases are at their highest levels since they started compiling statistics in 1999.

    At the same time, the number of cleared child pornography crime cases rose to 1,596, the highest ever recorded, the paper said. Most — 85% — were Internet-related. The figures inspired the U.S. State Department to label Japan as an “international hub” for producing and trafficking child pornography.

    The U.S. report noted that no national law addresses the “unfettered availability of sexual explicit cartoons, comics and video games, some of which depicted scenes of violent sexual abuse and the rape of children.”

    It added: ‘While the NPA continued to maintain that no link was established between these animated images and child victimization, other experts suggested children are harmed by a culture that appears to accept child sexual abuse.”

    http://edition.cnn.com/2014/06/18/world/asia/japan-manga-anime-pornography/index.html

    I’ve blogged about this country before:

    Child porn-related crimes have grown fivefold in Japan through the last decade, according to the country’s National Police Agency. At least 600 children a year fall victim to paedophile directors and photographers. “The internet is probably the biggest factor,” said Akira Koga, spokesman for the Kyoto Police. “It’s very difficult to monitor and control.” A new police cyber patrol uncovered the trail back to the three men from the DVD producer in Tokyo.

    https://antipornfeminists.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/japans-child-porn-addiction/

    There is also this article Porn in Japan from Cherryblossomlife, demonstrating the murderous misogyny of Japanese (adult) porn:

    https://cherryblossomlifeblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/porn-in-japan/

  6. The Wikipedia page on rape statistics shows that Japan has very low rates of reported rape (see table top right), that doesn’t necessarily mean that actual rates of rape are low.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_statistics

    Japan is a very conservative, patriarchal society, a quick search gives me this article from 2012, Japan’s Growing Political Gender Gap:

    Three days before South Korea elected a woman president, Japanese voters significantly reduced the number of women in parliament. As a result of Sunday’s vote, the new lower house will have 38 women, or 7.9% of all lawmakers in that chamber. That’s down from 54, or 11.3% in the prior session, and even lower than the 43 elected the time before that in 2005. That ended a steady increase in the number of female MPs in the past three campaigns.

    Japan’s low number is “embarrassing as an advanced country,” said Mieko Nakabayashi, a female candidate from the (no longer) ruling Democratic Party of Japan. She was first elected to parliament three years ago from Kanagawa Prefecture. She lost Sunday to a male opponent.

    Japan’s new gender map in parliament is a step back from its goal, set out in 2006, to have women account for 30% of all lawmakers. Even before this vote, Japan has long lagged behind much of the world in terms of female political clout. As of Oct. 31, the Inter-Parliamentary Union ranked Japan 113th out of 190 countries regarding the ratio of female representatives in the lower house. All other G7 countries ranked higher. Germany was the highest, at 24th, with a 32.9% ratio. The closest G7 country to Japan was the U.S., which ranked 82nd with a 17% ratio. The global average was 20.7%.

    Within Asia, China and South Korea ranked 66th and 89th. Applying Sunday’s results to the IPU data, Japan would fall to 127th, tied with Botswana.

    […]

    Japan’s politics mirrors its private sector. The difficulty of managing a work-life balance continues to limit female participation and opportunities in the workplace, according to an OECD report released this week. The gender pay gap, which starts with young workers, widens to as much as 40% for those over 40, making it among the largest in the OECD. Furthermore, the report points out, “less than 5% of listed company board members in Japan are women, one of the lowest proportions among OECD countries.”

    http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2012/12/20/japans-growing-political-gender-gap/

    Another quick search, for ‘rape rates Japan’ brings up this Q&A:

    First of all, I don’t think it’s fair to say that rapes don’t happen that much in Japan because the indications are that they do, it’s just that the culture, attitudes and the laws in Japan often do not allow women to speak out about their rapes easily. So such cases are grossly under reported.

    The Japanese, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say the Japanese law enforcers, remain very feudalistic in their views towards rapes and rape victims, despite the fact that Japan has undergone rapid modernization since the late 70s. Law enforcers and police still look at rape victims as being mostly responsible for their ordeals, that they must have done something wrong to have this violent crime happened to them. This thinking is so strong that many women, once becoming victims, choose to keep quiet instead of reporting it to police (still predominantly males) to avoid being humiliated, and therefore, get “raped” psychologically all over again.

    If you read the following article about a Jane, an Australian rape victim in Japan, and you will get some sense of what I’m talking about:
    Victims finally learning to speak out against Japan’s outdated rape laws

    Also, Japan is both a “shame” culture and a patriarchal society, and women do often blame themselves (or told to blame themselves) for having put themselves in a situation that they become exploited. In a bid not to bring disgrace to their families, they suffer the consequences silently.

    Or else women are taught to tolerate and make even lighter of a “lighter offense” such as groping, or even date rapes, by laughing it off. I know there are many such exploits happening in karaoke bars and hotels, where women, usually underlings in a company, get groped or worse by a male boss or co-workers. Some Japanese women friends of mine would tell me, during the three stints of my living in Japan, that so-and-so groped them, yet they just laughed it off, claiming “oh, he’s just being a male.” Part of this attitude may also have stemmed from the fact that in general, Japanese are non-confrontational, especially women.

    Of course some courageous women do report about date rapes, but the success rate of winning such suits is so low (again, women’s conducts come into serious scrutinization) that many more women learn to keep quiet.

    Perhaps it is also this “what can we do about it?” attitude that has indirectly encouraged some of the so-called ‘chikan’ or perverts, to go on molesting young women on trains and even view it as a sport. One guy I read in the newspaper (in the late 90s) claimed that he had groped some two, three thousand women on the train and later, went on to write a book about it. He clearly was proud of his wrongdoings. That the book was even allowed to get published goes to show how much the society has indirectly “permitted” such crimes to go on.

    https://www.quora.com/Why-are-the-rape-statistics-for-Japan-so-low

    The Q&A links to this article from 2008 Victims finally learning to speak out against Japan’s outdated rape laws:

    The car slowly pulls beside a deserted parking lot. The police officer turns to the woman, asking about the point where “it” happened. She looks up in an incredulous state, struggling to believe that the very people who are supposed to protect her are the same ones who have taken her back to this horrible place — the place that, no matter how hard she tries to forget, is scorched into her memory.

    It is here, in this parking lot near the Yokosuka U.S. Navy Base, where “Jane” became a rape victim. Yet, as horrible as the crime was, it is Jane’s efforts to seek help and, later, justice, that has monumentally changed the course of her life.

    For the last six years, Jane has been fighting to change the way Japan deals with its rape victims. She has recently broken her media silence and, in the past several months, held numerous press conferences and spoken before crowds of thousands of activists. Yet until Japan’s century-old laws are changed and the support network for victims improves, women like Jane will be forced to watch their attackers walk free while enduring what amounts to a second assault by the criminal justice system.

    Much of what happened on April 6, 2002, remains a blur to Jane. The Australia native, in her late 30s, was waiting for her boyfriend in a bar in Yokosuka, near the American military base. The next thing she recalls is snapping out of a daze, in her car, as a man sexually assaulted her. After the brutal assault, the stranger walked off and Jane staggered out of the vehicle looking for help.

    But the nightmare was, in a sense, just beginning. Jane’s first move was to report the assault to the office of the Yokosuka Military Police. Because it occurred outside of the base, the Kanagawa prefectural police were called in. When they arrived, Jane was questioned in the base’s front security office before being taken back to the scene of the crime, and eventually to Kanagawa police station for more questioning in a room filled with male officers. Though she repeatedly asked to be taken to a hospital, all her requests were denied. “I was informed that on-duty doctors are for urgent patients — and rape victims are not urgent,” Jane recalls.

    Instead of calling for a doctor or a counselor, the officers interrogated Jane for several hours. Unbelievably, they asked her to point out where on her body she was injured. Jane needed to go to the bathroom but didn’t want to destroy any evidence — she was wearing no underwear and still had traces of the rapist’s sperm on her body — so she decided to wait until she could get to the hospital for testing. She also suspects she was drugged, but because the police did not perform any blood tests, she can’t say for sure.

    “After the questioning, I was not immediately permitted to get a medical exam, but was instead taken back to the scene of the crime,” she explains. Less than a week later, she was asked to return again to the parking lot to re-enact the exact positions that she was put in for a police photographer. Unable to bring herself to do this, she gave directions to a male and female police officer as they entwined their bodies.

    The Kanagawa police found Jane’s attacker that same night. U.S. Navy Serviceman Bloke T Deans, who was in his 30s, was taken to Kanagawa Police Station for questioning and released. For reasons that are still unclear, they declined to file criminal charges. This is hardly uncommon: in 2006, the most recent year for which figures are available, 1,948 rapes were reported in Japan, but only 1,058 perpetrators were arrested.

    After the police failed to bring criminal charges against Deans, Jane filed a civil suit against him. But then the affair took another heartbreaking turn. In August 2003, the day before the case was to be heard in the Tokyo District Court, Deans’ lawyer resigned, claiming he was “unable to find” his client. “The U.S. Navy later told me that Deans was discharged from the USS Kitty Hawk in November 2002,” Jane says. “We have been unable to track him down.” In November 2004, Jane won her civil court case against Deans, and was awarded 3 million yen compensation. But three and a half years on, she has yet to receive any of the money. Deans remains a free man.

    Unfortunately, Jane’s ordeal is hardly an isolated case. Japan’s official rape figures paint only a small part of a larger, sadder picture. The National Police Agency’s annual report shows the number of reported rapes began rising in 1997. In 2003 that number hit a high of 2,472, and since has slowly decreased.

    Only 11% of sexual crimes reported

    A 2000 study by the Justice Ministry Research Group, meanwhile, showed that only about 11% of sexual crimes committed in Japan were reported. The Tokyo Rape Crisis Center believes the situation may be even worse. “It has been said that there are 10-20 hidden victims for every one that we know about,” says spokewoman Naomi Tjima. “In Japan, rape is a crime that requires a ‘formal complaint’ by a victim. Many cases end up in the settlement out of court, and rapists go free.”

    In 2006, Japan’s Gender Equality Bureau released a study titled “Violence Between Men and Women.” Of the 1,578 female respondents, 7.2% said they had been raped “at least once.” Sixty-seven percent of these rapes were perpetrated by someone the victim “knew well,” and 19% by someone they had “seen before.” Only 5.3% of the victims reported the crime to the police — around 6 people out of 114 cases. Of those who remained silent, nearly 40% said they didn’t step forward because they were “embarrassed.”

    A Reuters report from May 2007 sheds further light on the situation. “Activists and lawyers say that sentiment toward rape victims remains chilly in a society where many feel the woman may have led the man on, she is lying, or that she could have fought back,” the article says, and goes on to explain that common “rape myths,” which have long been discounted by experts in other countries, still exist in Japan. “Contrary to the law, there is still a widespread belief that only assaults by strangers can be defined as rape.”

    “There is no Rape Shield Law like in the United States and Canada, which protects victims from insensitive questions,” explains Hisako Motoyama, Executive Director of the Asia Japan Women’s Resource Center (AJWRC), a gender equality advocacy group founded in 1977. “Victims may even be asked, ‘Why didn’t you fight harder?’”

    Victim asked how many people she had slept with

    Facing cultural stigmas and insensitive police, it is little surprise that victims seek help from their friends rather than the law. Jane describes a recent rape trial she attended in Tokyo, during which the plaintiff, who prefers to remain unnamed, was asked questions like “How many people have you slept with?” and “Were you good at sports in school?”

    The issue of rape in Japan was brought to light last year at the 38th session of The United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) in Geneva. The mission of the 10-person international committee is to monitor compliance with a human rights protocol to which Japan became a signatory in 1999.

    After reviewing a report compiled by AJWRC and The World Organization Against Torture called “Violations of Women’s Rights in Japan,” the panel recommended that there should be “better protection and appropriate care for such [Japanese] victims.” They also showed concern that “efforts by officials were too focused on the crime and criminal, while ignoring the victim’s needs in aftermath of the often traumatizing ordeals they have been through.”

    On March 23, Jane shared her story with 6,000 people in Okinawa at a rally against the American military’s presence in Japan. The gathering was sparked by the February case of 38-year-old American Marine Sgt Tyrone Luther Hadnott, who was accused of raping a local 14-year-old. The charges were dropped when the girl and her family pleaded for privacy.

    Indeed, the local support system — especially for foreign women — is woefully inadequate. There are only two rape crisis centers in Japan, located in Tokyo and Okinawa. With limited funding, the Tokyo Rape Crisis Center only accepts calls for three hours, two days a week. Operators speak Japanese only.

    Groups like the AJWRC, meanwhile, are fighting for the rights of women. “The current system for dealing with rape victims has fundamental flaws,” says Motoyama. “The criminal law was enacted 100 years ago, and there have been very few changes since.”

    In May 2000 the Law for the Protection of Victims of Crime was enacted. This law improved some measures of victim support and protection, as well as allowing rape victims a time frame of ten years to make a formal complaint to the police. Although this was a step in the right direction, there is still a long way to go.

    The AJWRC has seen little progress in its three decades of operation, and it has had to endure constant pressure from groups who claim it is destroying family values by raising awareness of gender issues. The center regularly receives threatening calls and emails.

    Because of the treatment she received on the night she was raped, Jane filed a lawsuit against the Kanagawa Police Department. Among the evidence she presented were X-rays and medical documents showing that the official police reports contained gross inconsistencies. But in December 2007, the Tokyo District Court — the same court that found Deans guilty — ruled against her. The presiding judge said the police had acted within the law and fulfilled their responsibilities to the victim. Jane is appealing the decision.

    “The records, with clear dates and time on them, were deemed ‘unreliable,’ and the statements of the policemen were accepted over the evidence,” Jane says. “By ignoring hard evidence and siding with the police, the court is basically putting a message out there that rape victims aren’t important.”

    Six years on, Jane, who is now in her 40s, continues her fight. Her organization, Warriors Japan, is a support group that seeks to establish Japan’s first 24-hour rape crisis center. In March, 6,000 people gathered in Okinawa to hear Jane speak at a rally prompted by the alleged rape of a local 14-year-old girl by a U.S. serviceman.

    “I wish I had never called the police that day,” she says. “Filing this claim has not made me feel better. But I feel some validation in knowing that I am making a better path for the rape victims who will, unfortunately, come after me.”

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/lifestyle/view/victims-are-finally-learning-to-speak-out-against-japan%E2%80%99s-outdated-rape-laws

    So, is Hakim a lazy hack, or is she deliberately manipulative in the information she chooses to disclose?

  7. Japanese police have caught a 23-year-old man wanted for allegedly abducting a teenage girl who escaped the previous day after being held captive in his apartment for nearly two years.

    Police said on Monday that the girl, now aged 15, escaped from suspect Kabu Terauchi’s apartment in downtown Tokyo on Sunday while he was out shopping and called home from a payphone. She disappeared two years ago from her hometown in Saitama, near Tokyo.

    Saitama police said the girl, whose name is withheld because she is a minor, told investigators that she escaped when her captor forgot to lock the door from outside when he went out to go shopping in the Akihabara district.

    Investigators captured Terauchi in the early hours of Monday near a forest west of Tokyo. Police plan to formally arrest him and charge him with kidnapping.

    The girl’s disappearance two years ago when she was just 13 was major news in Japan at the time.

    The girl was seen wearing a sweatsuit and sandals in the cold weather while using a payphone at a train station in downtown Tokyo. Her mother reported the call to the police, who raided Terauchi’s Tokyo apartment early on Monday.

    Police quoted her as saying that she spent most of the past two years in Terauchi’s apartment near his university in Chiba before moving to Tokyo last month. She was always locked up in the apartment and closely watched, but was not tied up. There were times she was taken outside the apartment but always with her captor and under close watch.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/28/japan-police-catch-man-suspected-of-kidnapping-and-holding-girl-captive-tokyo

  8. Malmo, along with other urban centres in Sweden, has one of the highest levels of reported rapes in proportion to population in the EU, mainly due to the strictness of Swedish laws and how rape is recorded in the country.

    The rate of reported rapes in Malmo has not dramatically risen in recent years and has in fact declined from its peak in 2010, before the recent large increases in refugees.

    It is not possible to connect crimes to the ethnicity of the perpetrators as such data is not published.

    […]

    “Sexual offences” is a very broad term, which refers to a range of all sex-related crimes in Sweden.

    Rape is one of the sexual offences, but other crimes such as paying for sex, sexual harassment, indecent exposure, sexual exploitation, molestation and trafficking are included in the numbers as well.

    The figures peaked in 2014. The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Bra) says this rise is due to the changes to the legislation in 2013, which made it tougher.

    Similar increases in the number of reported cases were seen in 2006, after new sex offence legislation came into force in April 2005.

    Since then, Sweden has recorded every reported case of sexual violence separately.

    That means, as Susanne Lekengard from Bra explains, that if a person comes to the police and reports being raped by a partner or husband every day for the past year, the police will record each of these events.

    In many other countries these incidents would be recorded just once: one victim, one type of crime and one record.

    Also, paying for sex became one of the crimes counted in the statistics.

    During 2015, the year in which Sweden took the largest number of asylum seekers, the number of reported sex crimes and rapes actually decreased by 11% and 12% respectively compared with 2014 – 18,100 sex offences were reported to the police, of which 5,920 were classified as rape.

    Preliminary figures for 2016 show a rise, bringing the latest figures close to 2014 values.

    Susanne Lekengard says the rise of the number of sexual molestation cases in 2016 is due to a higher number of reported cases of sexual harassment amongst teenagers at summer music festivals.

    Sweden does not publish the ethnicity or national background of perpetrators of any crime, including sexual offences.

    […]

    It is very hard to compare sex-related offences and rape across the world.

    Police procedures and legal definitions vary widely around the world, making an international comparison meaningless.

    The 2012 UN international rape rate comparison showed Sweden to have the highest rate of rape in Europe and the second highest in the world, but the report did not contain data for a total of 63 countries that did not submit any statistics, including, for example, South Africa, where other earlier surveys indicated a very high rape rate.

    The most recent Eurostat data for the 28 EU countries also puts Sweden in the top spot.

    But the agency warns that comparisons between different countries should be avoided because of differences between their legal and criminal justice systems, recording practices, reporting rates, efficiencies of criminal justice organisations and types of offences included in the categories.

    There has also been a public debate in Sweden over the past two decades to raise awareness and encourage women to go to the police if they have been attacked.

    This has resulted in a higher report rate than in other countries in Europe.

    Reality Check: Is Malmo the ‘rape capital’ of Europe?

  9. In the space of a fortnight in Japan, a model accused a renowned photographer of exploitation and two top officials resigned over sex scandals. This has re-ignited the #MeToo debate in a country which has been reluctant to acknowledge it as a hard reality for women, as the BBC’s Sakiko Shiraishi reports.

    In Japan, where the spectre of public censure looms large, it is unsurprising that women are often discouraged from speaking out. A US state department human rights report notes that sexual harassment in the workplace remains “widespread”.

    But in the space of just a few weeks a spate of allegations has led to public figures being shamed, top officials resigning and also a backlash against the women behind the claims.

    By far the biggest scalp claimed was that of Junichi Fukuda, the top bureaucrat in Japan’s finance ministry who is accused of sexually harassing a female journalist by making suggestive comments to her. Mr Fukuda resigned last week but denies the allegations and has said he will sue the magazine that made the revelations for defamation.

    Following his resignation, TV Asahi said one of its reporters had been the victim of harassment by Mr Fukuda and said it would lodge a protest with the finance ministry.

    But perhaps most interesting is how all the institutions involved responded.

    The finance ministry called on female reporters to step forward to co-operate with fact-finding, a gesture widely criticised, including by Seiko Noda, Japan’s minister in charge of female empowerment, as tantamount to pressuring victims to stand up in front of those who allegedly harassed them.

    Most telling is how the female reporter’s own employer responded to her allegations. Hiroshi Shinozuka, the head of TV Asahi’s network news division, explained she had taken her story to the magazine after being advised against reporting it.

    “We are doing some deep soul-searching as regards our inability to respond appropriately despite receiving information that one of our employees had been sexually harassed,” said Mr Shinozuka, who said the main concern was her emotional state.

    Before Mr Fukuda’s resignation, Japan’s Newspaper Workers’ Union issued a blistering statement.

    “Female reporters have had to suffer silently, despite being subjected to humiliating and mortifying treatment… When a reporter accuses an interviewee of sexual harassment, the media company must respond immediately and adamantly to protect the human rights of the reporter as well as protect the safety of their working environment.”

    But the reporter has also seen a significant backlash on social media, from politicians and even celebrities. Many chose to critique the reporter for handing in the recorded interview to the magazine. Hirofumi Shimomura, a former culture minister, said he considered that “a crime in a sense” but later apologised for that comment.

    Then an influential comedian, Hitoshi Matsumoto, queried why TV Asahi had allowed a female reporter to continue covering Mr Fukuda if they knew he was sexually harassing her.

    “If they made her go against her will, isn’t that power harassment? And if she kept going for a year because she was keen on it, then wasn’t it a honey trap?”

    The reporter’s allegations came shortly after another model, known as KaoRi, dropped a bombshell on Japan’s world of photography.

    She posted a blog about her time with Nobuyoshi Araki, one of Japan’s most celebrated erotic photographers, in which she accused him of both financial and artistic exploitation, having her pose nude in front of other people, and questioned how images of her had been used. She does not accuse him of any sexual misconduct.

    Mr Araki, best known for exploring the boundary between pornography and art, is not new to controversy, having been accused of creating images that demeaned women and essentially of creating sexist art, a charge that he dismisses as a simplistic interpretation of his work.

    His photography certainly embraces nudity but also depicts explicit scenes of bondage, typically showing women bound and suspended in the air. KaoRi became known as his “muse” and features in many of his photos tied up or nude.

    She stopped working with him in 2016 but said that the MeToo movement had encouraged her to share her experience.

    KaoRi said she worked without a contract, was forced to take part in explicit shoots in front of strangers, was not regularly paid and that her nude images were often used without her consent.

    She claims that when she objected to the use of her image for commercial gain, she was shut down and that the entire experience led to considerable trauma and ill health.

    Although she did not accuse him of sexual misconduct, the allegations have raised questions once again about the relationship between an artist and so-called “muse” and the idea that art may have an impact on questions of consent.

    KaoRi has told the BBC that in a telephone conversation with her, Mr Araki has denied all of her allegations.

    The vast majority of Mr Araki’s models appear to have been more than happy to take part in the shoots, but one model did share a Facebook post which accused Mr Araki of behaving inappropriately during a photo shoot, an experience which she told the BBC made her panic.

    She said that during one uncomfortable incident, witnesses, including editors from a publisher, were there but no one thought to intervene.

    Despite her strong distrust of Japan’s art and publishing industry, she found some support after posting about her experiences on Facebook.

    The photographer has not commented publicly on any of the allegations nor has he responded to further requests for comment from the BBC.

    But neither of the women have received much coverage or public support with their claims.

    Kazuko Ito, a lawyer vocal about the MeToo movement in Japan, said Japan’s law against sexual exploitation is way behind other developed countries. Sex crime laws were amended last June after 110 years but for her the problem runs much deeper.

    “Lack of legal protection, combined with cultural pressure to accept and bear one’s hardship, make young women vulnerable.

    “Japanese people are taught not to say NO,” she added, saying that it is almost as if people are hardwired not to refuse unfair demands.

    “What they need is solidarity across industries and societies. That will encourage more people to speak up.”

    She also represents one woman who did come forward with her story of sexual assault, one that elicited a notably ambiguous response.

    In a case notable for its rarity, Shiori Ito accused a high profile journalist of drugging and raping her. After a police investigation was dropped, she took the unusual step of going public with her allegations – and has opened a civil lawsuit against the man.

    But for her too, initially, there was a deafening silence in response to her allegations, from both women and men, when she first voiced them.

    One high-profile actress was notable for speaking out on behalf of KaoRi, lauding her courage. Kiko Mizuhara wrote on Instagram: “My heart ached with thinking how much pain KaoRi has endured for such a long time. I appreciate her courage to share this story.

    “Models are not things. Women are not sex tools. We are all human. We should never forget sympathising each other.”

    #MeToo Japan: What happened when women broke their silence

  10. Outrage amongst women in Spain over a court’s decision to clear five men of the crime of rape after they performed and filmed non-consensual sex with a teenager has led to an extraordinary outpouring of personal stories of male abuse on social media.

    Using the hashtag #cuéntalo (tell it), tens of thousands of women have decided to show their solidarity with the victim in the “wolf pack” case, so called because of the name of the WhatsApp group her attackers used to comment on their sordid acts.

    WARNING: You may find some of the accounts in this story disturbing.

    Women have detailed instances in which they have suffered unwanted sexual attention or violent abuse from male family members, strangers or teachers and others in positions of authority.

    The stories have trickled in to form a flood of anger about what women have had to endure, mostly in silence – until now.

    “It was my father and it started before I can remember,” wrote Elisa. “Two years old, three? Less? I have just turned 41 and a few months ago I went back into therapy because, even if I think I have, I haven’t got over it. Chronic depression, anxiety attacks, nightmares… I never had a partner. Alone I feel safe.”

    “When I was 12 a stranger masturbated on me on the city bus taking me home. I didn’t move. I felt shame, guilt, disgust. I didn’t tell anyone until years later. I lived as if it hadn’t happened but I didn’t wear a skirt again for years. It’s the first one I remember.”

    “I was 13 when my teacher started touching me without my consent and he did it for three months, I was living through a depression and tried suicide, I am telling this because I am not scared anymore.”

    When the five “wolf pack” men were handed nine-year jail sentences for sexual abuse but acquitted of full-blown rape last Thursday, hundreds of thousands of mainly women protesters thronged the streets of Spanish cities.

    Spanish journalist Cristina Fallarás took her cue from the #MeToo movement, posting her own multiple experiences of abuse on Twitter and encouraging other women to #cuéntalo.

    “I believe almost all of us have suffered some kind of sexual assault,” she wrote.

    Some well-known female personalities in Spain have joined their voices to the movement, like Leticia Dolera, an actress and author, who tweeted her experience of being 15 in a quiet street.

    “15 years old. A quiet street. A young man throws himself at me from behind and gropes my bum. He whispers: you’re lovely. I am speechless. He goes away. He comes back, doing the same but harder grabbing my hips and rubbing himself up against me. I scream. He goes away. Two people look at me. I feel shame.”

    Victoria Rosell, a judge and former member of Congress for the anti-austerity Podemos party, tweeted fragments of the 12 times she said she had faced abusive situations.

    Among the 12 occasions I remembered yesterday because of Cristina’s #cuéntalo, I have an identical one to yours, at the age of 14. In the clubhouse toilet at a village party, opening the door to three men getting naked. 17. I am not telling about the times that I couldn’t escape. It’s painful to say: I am a judge and I never went to the police.”

    Ms Rosell has also criticised her colleagues’ verdict in the “wolf pack” case.

    Two of the three judges decided that actual intimidation had not taken place, even though they recognised that the 18-year-old victim had “frozen” once being surrounded inside a tiny alcove while her hair was pulled and body moved around by her attackers.

    “The proven facts of the case are those of a rape,” she told Cadena Ser radio after the verdict had been published.

    The Spanish government has promised to revise the framing of the country’s rape laws, with opposition parties also supporting the need for reform.

    Justice Minister Rafael Catalá took the unusual step of personally criticising the third judge in the case, who issued a minority verdict in favour of acquitting the five of any violent offence, claiming the sex had been consensual.

    Mr Catalá said Judge Ricardo González was suffering from a “personal problem” and said it was the responsibility of Spain’s judicial watchdog to ensure judges were “in full possession of their faculties”.

    Hours after the third straight night of protests against the verdict had taken place in Pamplona, a 34-year-old woman suffered a fatal beating in the city of Burgos, leading to the arrest of her 36-year-old former boyfriend.

    Some of the #cuéntalo messages focused on what feminist campaigners in Spain have described as a “femicide”, after almost 1,000 women have been killed by partners or ex-partners since the government began keeping records of gender violence cases in 2003.

    Blogger Alejandra Tuk tweeted about the shocking story of a woman killed in Granada in 1997. Her name was Ana Orantes.

    “My husband abuses me. I ask for a divorce. The sentence obliges me to live on the second floor of my attacker’s house. I tell my story on TV. He gets annoyed because I report it, he comes round, ties me to a chair and burns me alive. I am telling you because Ana Orantes cannot.”

    Spain ‘wolf pack’ case: Fury over verdict sparks #MeToo campaign

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