This girl sued the professor for sexually harassing her. His wife wins the case
The art history professor and his student had finished dinner and were strolling along the river in Kyoto, Japan's picturesque former capital, when they stopped at a bar.
For months they had spent a lot of time together and the professor had kissed her once in a park in Tokyo. Now, after a few drinks, he invited her to the hotel where he was staying and they had sex. She said it was against her will, while he said it was consensual.
From that day on, they began a decade-long clandestine relationship that included secret meetings and several overseas trips.
Over time, the student came to believe that the professor had taken advantage of the assignment and that she had never consented to stay with him.
When she finally ended the relationship, she filed a formal complaint with the university and sued the professor for sexual harassment. Her lawsuit: The professor had used his position when she was 23 years old to ask for sexual favors, assault her and then keep her under his influence for years.
What was not expected was a lawsuit from the professor's wife. She sued them for adultery and causing mental distress under Japan's civil code, which sees extramarital affairs as a breach of the marriage contract.
In the end, the woman won nearly $20,000. The professor was fired, and the student lost the case as she had never been forced to have intercourse.
The story of Meiko Sano, now 38, her professor, Michio Hayashi, 63, and his wife, Machiko, 74, once again highlights the situation of sexual harassment in Japan, where women rarely win such cases and where the movement # MeToo has not yet caught on like it has in the West.
'Within Japan there is this culture where we all have to try to get along,' said Yukiko Sato, director of Spring, a non-profit advocacy group for sexual assault survivors. "So if you're asked to have sex, you might find it hard to say no."
“Për sa i përket sulmit seksual, duhet të ketë një kërcënim të madh dhe viktima duhet të luftojë”, tha Mizuki Kaëamoto, një avokate që shqyrtoi ndryshimet e mundshme në ligjet e vendit për krimet seksuale. Ligji aktual, tha ajo, nuk mbron njerëzit që “detyrohen psikologjikisht të thonë po”.
Në të kundërt, ligjet në Shtetet e Bashkuara dhe disa vende evropiane marrin parasysh që një viktimë mund të mos jetë në gjendje të japë pëlqimin për shkak të sëmundjes ose dehjes, ose që një shkelës mund të shfrytëzojë një situatë kur është autoritet.
Disa avokatë thonë se institucionet japoneze kanë nevojë për udhëzime më të qarta në lidhje me marrëdhëniet midis studentëve dhe profesorëve. Qeveria kohët e fundit u bëri thirrje universiteteve që të ofrojnë më shumë informacion në lidhje me shërbimet e këshillimit për ngacmimin dhe dhunën seksuale dhe të zbulojnë kur ndërmerren masa disiplinore.
Sano tha se po përballej me çrregullimin e stresit post-traumatik dhe po punonte për të rikuperuar aftësinë e saj 'për të thënë jo'. Ajo tha se sjellja e saj ishte një shenjë indoktrinimi dhe se kishte frikë të ishte 'e pasjellshme' me mbikëqyrësin e saj, i cili kishte autoritet mbi karrierën e saj të ardhshme.
Kur ajo po përpiqej t'i jepte fund marrëdhënies, Hayashi do ta akuzonte atë se ishte 'paranojake' ose do t'i thoshte se nuk do të mund të dilte kurrë me dikë tjetër.
In the spring of 2018, Sano was working at an art gallery in Tokyo and ended the relationship for good. She slowly began to tell her family and a small circle of friends about it and was faced with an overwhelming sense of shame. He also tried to commit suicide.
Sexual harassment experts say it will take more than legal action to change the culture.
"The generally accepted view is that if a woman accepts a kiss or goes on a date, then it's consensual," said Osaka University's Muta, who defends university policies banning romantic relationships between professors and students. "We are fighting to change the climate, but we have not yet been very successful."