Activists seek end to sexual violence

Kyodo

A citizens’ group campaigning to end sexual violence will present draft legislation containing comprehensive countermeasures at a Tokyo symposium on Sunday.

In the outline, the group of scholars and lawyers, who are seeking to create a law to ban sexual violence, calls for the establishment of one-stop support centers nationwide where victims can receive physical and psychological treatment following such attacks.

The draft bill also stipulates revision of the Penal Code to toughen punishment for rape and increase the maximum prison sentence, as well as protection of victims’ privacy in judicial procedures and thorough education to prevent sexual violence.

Keiko Kondo, an organizer of the group, said perpetrators are often close to victims and may be friends or coworkers. This, she said, makes victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence often reluctant to report their ordeals for fear of not being believed or having their motives questioned.

A 2011 Cabinet Office survey of 5,000 adults found only 3.7 percent of 134 women who had been raped reported the crime to police and that 67.9 percent did not tell anyone about the attack.

“The crimes that have been revealed are just the tip of the iceberg. We hope to establish a law specializing in sexual violence to create a system in which perpetrators bear criminal responsibility and victims of violence are supported,” Kondo said.