Sexual assault leaves more than physical wounds. It often impacts the victims emotionally and psychologically as well. Many victims find it difficult to share their experience and facing their trauma often takes a lot of courage. But when they do start speaking up, its usually a flood in an effort to put their assailant away.
On 25th August, Taiwanese internet celebrity “Gino Jinyou”, real name Zhuang Kaibo (莊開博) was sentenced for sexually assaulting a female colleague. After the news broke, many of his victims came forward to share their tale. One of them was YouTuber and cosplayer April Tong (四月桐).
Yesterday (2nd September), April posted her story on Facebook. According to the YouTuber, Gino was a friend from work. She explained that she only saw him as a friend and she enjoyed spending time with him. “At that time, I only (thought of him) as a talkative, funny, serious and a good boy,” April recalled. Their previous interactions had built a basis of trust between them, or so she felt.
The day he assaulted her, was a usual day. They had dinner together, went shopping, then he asked to visit her new home. April trusted him, thinking even if something did happen, a simple “no” would be enough to make him stop. She did not predict Gino knocking her back onto her bed and immediately taking advantage of her.
“(I) was treated with all kinds of brutality,” she stated. “Kisses, touching (my) breasts and private parts… etc.” She tried to reject his advances, repeatedly telling him no and trying to push him away. Nothing worked and she grew desperate enough to try and “scare” him. April lied to Gino, telling him that a friend would be coming over soon for work-related reasons. “Maybe, because of this, (he) let me keep (my virginity),” April said. However, Gino still managed to violate her with his fingers.
April admitted she did not take legal action after the assault because she couldn’t bear to talk about it. “I knew in my heart (that) my tolerance may support him and (allow him to) be bolder,” she said. “For this, I (apologise). I (have been) blaming myself for it too.” Ashamed and helpless, April tried to ignore what had happened and pretended everything was fine. It later led to her being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Unfortunately, Gino took advantage of her several times afterwards. As she tried to pretend everything was fine, Gino apparently assumed it meant she was okay with what had happened. So he cornered her again, this time during a training course. “I ran into him in the hallway outside the classroom, and was forced to hug him,” she said. Another time was after she had a business meeting. Gino forcibly hugged and kissed her.
After hearing the news of Gino’s sentencing and seeing multiple victims share their stories, April felt courageous enough to do the same. “This is the first time I’ve ever confessed this matter,” she wrote. “It’s really not easy.” The YouTuber admitted it had taken a lot of introspection for her to come to the decision. But she finally decided to confess, hoping it would help her heal from Gino’s doings.
“I hope Gino learns (his) lesson),” April ended. “Please don’t base joy on the pain of others. please don’t take advantage of other people’s trust in you.” Gino’s sentence is for 4 years and 10 months. We too hope it’s enough time for him to change himself.