With International Women's Day passing just a few days ago (March 8th), today, I'd like to take a moment to discuss a bit of Taiwan's women's movement history with you. Let's reflect on the past to understand the blood and tears shed by those before us, upon which our current gender equality is built.

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In 1986, Deng Ruwen, who had moved north with her father from Taitung, accompanied a male acquaintance named Lin to visit a hospitalized friend. Little did she know that Lin would take advantage of the situation to sexually assault her at his residence on Xinhai Road in Banqiao. Subsequently, Deng found herself pregnant with the child conceived from the assault, forced to marry her assailant, enduring Lin's alcohol-fueled domestic violence.

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In a society where it was believed that "the law does not enter the home," confronting domestic violence was utterly futile. On the night of October 27, 1993, after returning home intoxicated once again, Lin began verbally abusing Deng, threatening to sell Deng's female relatives into prostitution and bury Deng's younger brother alive, vowing to kill Deng's entire family this time. Following the assault on Deng, Lin went to sleep in his room, while Deng, unable to contain her anger, bludgeoned him to death with a hammer and a knife while he slept in the living room.

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With support from various women's groups and political figures, Deng Ruwen was eventually granted a reduced sentence, leading to the enactment of the "Domestic Violence Prevention Act," providing legal protection for abused women. However, Taiwan women's nightmares were far from over, as the next horror unfolded with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Women's Development Department Director Peng Wan-ju.

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On November 30, 1996, Peng Wan-ju, then serving as director of the DPP Women's Development Department, was tirelessly advocating for the "one-quarter guarantee for women's participation in politics" within the DPP, only to mysteriously disappear that night. Peng's body was discovered on December 3rd in Kaohsiung, bearing 35 stab wounds and with her right eye gouged out. Peng Wan-ju's death sparked public outrage, leading to the "1221 Women's Rights Torch Night Parade" organized by the National Women's Network, proclaiming "women want power, not violence."

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Peng Wan-ju's death led to the Legislative Yuan passing the "Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act" on December 31, 1996. The Ministry of Education also established the "Gender Equality Education Committee'' in March 1997. However, the nightmares continued, as in 2000, the "Rose Boy '' Ye Yong-zheng was found dead in a restroom at Da-Shu Junior High School due to bullying from classmates for his effeminate demeanor. Ye's death led Taiwan to amend the "Gender Equality Education Act'' to the "Sexual Equality Education Act" in 2004. Our current "peaceful world" is paved with the tireless efforts of women's groups and the sacrifices of individuals.

With this article, I humbly commemorate Ms. Peng Wan-ju, little brother Ye Yong-zheng, and all the organizations and predecessors who contributed to the gender equality legislative movement. May we never forget.

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