Hong Kong’s churches are facing at least 55 claims of sexual harassment, according to a survey released on Sunday.
Fifty-five local churchgoers responded to the Hong Kong Christian Council’s online survey about sexual harassment between August 2017 and April of this year. The organization interviewed five respondents in-depth, and shared the results of the survey at Kowloon Union Church on Sunday night.
In over half of the experiences detailed by victims and people who knew them, the perpetrator was a church leader or employee. Thirty-five percent of the respondents said that the perpetrator was another member of the church.
The vast majority of victims were female, while 10 percent of the experiences involved a male harassing another male.
The Hong Kong Christian Council wrote that the goal of the survey was to “explore the relationship between church victims’ experience of sexual violence and the church structure, beliefs, and group culture,” as well as the reasons victims didn’t receive help earlier.
It also urged churches to implement more trainings and policies to prevent sexual harassment. Coconuts HK has contacted the organization for further comment.
The findings come days after after a member of the Brotherly Love Swatow Baptist Church in Tsz Wan Shan publicly accused Ngai Lap-yin, a pastor, of sexually harassing her and other teenage churchgoers for years.
She called him a “monster” in a now-deleted Facebook post, writing, “His strategy was to build a father-daughter relationship with girls.”
Ngai, who was fired in May, later admitted in an interview with Christian Times that he harmed women at the church, and was willing to stand trial in court in order to express his regret.