Foreigners victims, perpetrators of sekuhara

by Japan Times
(Tokyo, Japan)

Foreigners victims, perpetrators of sekuhara

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. The administrator refused to speak to her for the remaining two years she worked at the school.

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