We hereby demand that LDP House of Representatives member Mio Sugita withdraw her statement, issue a public apology, and resign from her position.
We strongly protest against LDP House of Representatives member Mio Sugita's statement on "women can tell lies as much as they want," and demand that she withdraws her statement, issues a public apology, and resigns from her position.Her statement has resulted in the "second rape" of victims of sexual violence and constitutes sexual discrimination. It is also considered hate speech that could hamper efforts to eliminate sexual violence. We have launched “Flower Demo” in March 2019 with the aim of eliminating sexual violence and building solidarity with victims of sexual violence in the aftermath of a series of acquittals for perpetrators of sexual crimes. Currently, demonstrations are being organized on the 11th of every month in all 47 prefectures nationwide. Two of the four acquittals that had triggered the launch of Flower Demo involved sexual abuse of daughters by fathers. Although one of the perpetrators charged with sexually abusing his 12-year-old daughter was ultimately fined for possessing child pornography, his sexual abuse charge was dismissed on the grounds that "the victim's testimony was not credible." (Proceedings for this case are currently underway at the High Court.) The will and voices of women are often neglected in our society, where women are required to behave according to stereotypes and any claims made by victims of sexual violence are usually met with skepticism. When such claims are made, the victims are often accused of attempting to ruin a man's life. Sexual violence is not taken seriously and the words of victims are often ignored. Even a 12-year-old girl can be thought to have lied to bring down an adult man. It is the sexual discrimination inherent in our society that has allowed sexual violence to fester. Flower Demo has empowered many women to take to the streets and start giving voice to the past experiences that they have suffered. What became clear was that it is not the case that victims are unable to speak out, but that they have been compelled to stay silent because no one would believe them even if they had spoken out. In many cases, there was no hard evidence to be presented to the police and no witnesses. Moreover, perpetrators of such crimes often have a high social status, and it is not uncommon for some of them to even be fathers of the victims. Many victims had not been taken seriously by the police, and the cases of sexual violence that have been trialed in court represent nothing more than the tip of the iceberg. The voices of victims of sexual violence have exposed the cruel reality that it is not the case that victims are unable to speak out, but that our society has been unwilling to listen to them. However, our society is changing.