Emergency Statement: We Stand Against Chikan
On Tuesday, June 25, one of WE Int. members became a victim of chikan (痴漢), or molestation, in the train on her way to work. The train was very crowded because of the morning rush, and it was obvious that people around her noticed the molestation. However, no one took action to help her, even after she raised her voice to accuse the perpetrator.
Here is a brief message from the member regarding the incident:
With many anti-chikan initiatives such as women-only train carriages and posters encouraging commuters to speak up, I had thought more people were aware of the chikan issue and willing to help catch the molesters. But that idea quickly wilted when I encountered ‘chikan’ on a super crowded train. I grabbed the molester’s hand and it took everything out of me to question his action in front of everyone. My whole body was shaking as I was furious, scared, and disgusted at the same time. The man looked at me and admitted his actions saying “dakara? (Yea, so what?)”, like he didn’t do anything wrong. Everyone surrounding us knew what was going on. But did anyone do anything to help me? - Absolutely nothing. I had to drag the man to the train station office with the nearby staff, whom I begged to help me. Everyone else on the train seemed like they didn’t want to get involved for whatever reason. For a second, the fact that no one helped me made me feel like I was doing something wrong for speaking up. But I know I did the right thing. I hope this encourages more women to speak up.
Chikan is not someone else’s problem, but it is yours. It is ours.
One of the most critical problems WE Int. notices is the norm of victim-blaming and -shaming in chikan cases, which consequently imposes a great amount of fear on victims to speak up for themselves or for others. Many women are also scared to accuse men, since such an action is contrary to what they have been told to do since young age.
By releasing this statement, WE Int. would like to show sympathy and solidarity with every person who has went through sexual harrassment. We would also like to encourage all of you to take even a small step to stand up for one another.