N.B. This is not a satirical post. After Security Chief Lai Tung-Kwok aired his victim-blaming opinions on HK’s increasing rape figures last month, an even higher-ranking male official clearly fancied some time in the international spotlight…
Australian lawyer and Director of Public Prosecutions at the HK Department of Justice, Kevin Zervos, reckons female victims of sexual assault ought extend more sympathy to their poor attackers:
“Men will actually respect women more if they see women showing compassion to them and realising they are better off without a conviction.”
Cool story, bro. Zervos shared more of his deep thoughts in an interview with SCMP’s Joanna Chiu, who asked him whether he believed HK judges were overly lenient with sex offenders:
“There’s this boy-girl thing in life… You have young men and women out there interacting socially. And when an incident happens and a man gets carried away… is it social misbehaviour or is it a crime?”
The SCMP took down the article after Zervos complained.
Hong Kong law on this matter is far from harsh. Usually fines or ‘bind overs’ are handed over to those found guilty of indecent assault. Victims are often pressured to settle for bind overs, which are ‘good behaviour’ orders allowing the original conviction to be later withdrawn. Fellow blogger, Tim Hamlett, revealed that Kevin Zervos had personally been in touch with a victim of a recent sexual assault to explain this convenient and convoluted ‘loophole’ to her. (Her attacker admitted his actions, kept his ESF teaching job and was fined HK$1000.)
Neither Lai “I would ask that young ladies not drink too much” Tung-Kwok nor Kevin Zervos had much to say about the perpetrators of rape, reports of which increased 60% to 35 incidents in the first quarter of 2013. Both could have sent a clear message to would-be rapists by condemning such acts, promising to hunt down such criminals or creating tougher penalties. Instead, their comments appear to lay blame on the victims and offer sympathy with attackers.
The Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women responded by stating that women are less likely to report sexual assault if they believe prosecutors will be lenient. Already, up to 90% of sexual assault cases go unreported according to the Hong Kong Women’s Coalition on Equal Opportunities.
Zervos’s Wikipedia entry has already been updated to ensure his support for lighter punishment for sex-offenders is remembered. He turns 60 this year and is due to step down from his current role in July or August. He will most likely become a high court judge.
Readers can drop Kev a line at [email protected] to share their thoughts.