Japan sees progress on sexual harassment, but stories suggest it still has a long way to go
When "Tracy," an American then in her late 20s, started her career in Japan as a JET instructor at a high school in Kagoshima nearly 20 years ago, nothing in her training could have prepared her for what she witnessed.
The Japanese teacher she worked with at the school — one of the few women who taught there — would constantly be asked by her male colleagues when she would be getting married. Male students would call her anonymously and proposition her for sex. Condoms were left on her computer keyboard every morning, and every morning she would brush them into the bin in quiet humiliation as the other teachers chuckled.
Soon Tracy too became a victim of harassment. At a bonenkai (end-of-year party), one of the vice principals sat next to her and grabbed her breasts. "Why do you hide these?" he said, as all the men burst into laughter.
She responded by gesturing towards his crotch and asking, "Why do you hide this?"
( This time there was no laughter, just a stunned silence.Collapse )
I was not surprised to read that one of the women worked at NOVA; there's a reason that sketchy as hell company went bankrupt (and for the record, when a creep cornered me in a stairwell on my way to work when I worked for Aeon, another of the big English Conversation Schools, as soon as I got to work and managed to say what had happened, the Japanese staff--all women--were telling me to go the police and report the guy, and asked if I wanted to go home instead of working. So not every place is staffed by insensitive jerks.)
And boys at the junior high I worked at had their moments of sekuhara, but they were like that with everyone, male AND female teachers. They used to try and shock me (PROTIP: When sensei is actually a slasher, trying to shock her by bouncing up and down on another boy's lap and yelling "Fast ride! Slooooow ride!" while varying your bouncing speed is not going to work so well) and nearly every ALT I knew, male and female, got grilled intensively on their sex life and has had to deal with kids, male and female, having grabby-hands.
The street harassment thing...yeah, it happens, and people do ignore it as "not my problem/don't get involved," and it extends to a lot more than just ignoring harassment. Likewise, cops are a joke and there's a lot of feeling women are just pressing charges and the like for money (because many times with pervs on the train, if they get caught, they'll try to pay the woman off rather than have her go to the police, and the police seem to encourage it.)