Equal Opportunities Commission


E-news Issue 220


EOC speaks out against sexual harassment at the 7th Asian Conference on Sexuality Education

Consent, bodily autonomy, gender and sexual diversity... these are crucial concepts that would help a person recognise when a certain act crosses a line and becomes sexual harassment, which is why they need to be introduced to children from a young age.

Indeed, the EOC has always been conscious of the close connection between sexuality education and the fight against sexual harassment. In its latest effort to drive conversations about the issue, the EOC distributed leaflets and delivered a poster presentation during the 7th Asian Conference on Sexuality Education on 18-19 October 2019, co-organised by The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong and the Department of Special Education and Counselling of The Education University of Hong Kong. The presentation was based on the EOC’s study, Break the Silence: Territory-wide Study on Sexual Harassment of University Students in Hong Kong, released in January 2019. Staff from the EOC also set up a booth and explained to the attendees the study’s findings – almost one in four students reportedly experienced sexual harassment within the 12 months prior to the survey, and yet only 2.5 % of the victims lodged a complaint with their university – as well as the follow-up actions the Commission has taken to date, such as meeting with university management to discuss preventive measures.

Part of the problem stems from misconceptions about sex and gender roles, developed as early as in primary school. Just last month, the EOC made a submission to the Task Force on Review of School Curriculum of the Education Bureau, laying out recommendations for a comprehensive overhaul of sexuality education in Hong Kong. The suggestions incorporated many of the insights shared by participants of a roundtable the EOC co-organised with Lee Hysan Foundation in May 2019, who include lawmakers, scholars, school principals, teachers and NGO representatives, among other stakeholders. For details, please click the link below.