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INTERVIEW: Journalist Ito Hails Solidarity of Sexual Violence Victims

October 16, 2018

London- Japanese journalist Shiori Ito, who made headlines through her public allegation of rape against a famous journalist, has hailed the solidarity of sexual violence victims through the Me Too movement.

"I want to give big applause to the global solidarity formed through the Me Too movement," Ito, who lives in Britain, said in a recent written interview with Jiji Press.

The Me Too movement began about a year ago following sexual misconduct allegations in the U.S. film industry. The movement spread globally, with many people in key public positions and celebrities held responsible.

"People who had been treated as small voices united to make a loud protest and became a great force. This saved me when I was fighting alone, trying not to stop my voice, after making the allegation about six months before the Me Too movement began," she said.

In Japan, many victims hesitate to file complaints due to fears about social hostility against accusers, Ito said, claiming that only 4 pct of the country's sexual violence victims report to police.

The Me Too movement was beginning when her book on the alleged rape was published, Ito recalled. "I felt everyone wants to cry out now."

But immediately after the publication, "a woman told me that she feels ashamed (about the allegation) as a woman, and my heart nearly broke," Ito said.

"In Europe and the United States, women developed solidarity but the movement did not reach Japan soon," she said.

Ito said, however, that the movement has created a major change in Japan, where discussions on sexual violence have become more open.

Ito and others launched a "We Too" movement, in the hope that no one will be a bystander or perpetrator of any harassment or violence, she said.

"The key task is how we receive victims' voices and reflect them in society," she added.

"I'll do my utmost to convey their voices to the world through my work."

Ito claimed that she had been raped by the television journalist in April 2015 after drinking with him and losing consciousness. He was not indicted. Jiji Press