I am a third-year PhD student currently attached to the University of Durham and am publicly known as an activist for women’s issues in Hong Kong. I would like to briefly share my research, activism and thoughts on these.
While working on my MA dissertation, I interviewed victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation. The material available on the issue of trafficking is horrible enough; however, as you may all know, it is one thing to read about this extreme violation of human dignity and another thing to hear about it straight from the victims, face-to-face. Would I just finish writing up my dissertation, send the NGO a summary sheet and then forget about those women and their experiences? How would that help anyone? I felt I had to begin the PhD I am currently working on, which is on trafficking of women in Hong Kong, so that I could gain a better understanding of the issue. Without understanding the nature of a problem and its root, it is difficult if not impossible to fight the problem.
Although there are many factors related to trafficking in women, such as ethnicity and poverty, I am approaching the issue with the lens of gender inequality and cultural acceptance of violence against women, which I believe lie at the heart of the issue. This links to my activism.
I am the initiator and lead organiser of SlutWalk Hong Kong; the global SlutWalk movement aims to raise awareness on the issues of sexual violence and victim blaming and must not be misunderstood as being carnivalesque or a “Slut Pride” movement. In addition to organising the marches and associated events, I regularly spend time updating the SlutWalk Hong Kong Facebook page and the blog. In addition, I am interviewed by news sources, such as South China Morning Post and China Daily, on issues of gender and sexual violence. I also work with other NGOs, both attending their protests or discussion forums and organising events with them, without remuneration of course. I am also involved in NoMoreSlaves Flashmob, which organises flashmobs to raise awareness on human trafficking around the world.
Why do I care about my research and activism? This is because I can neither live with willful ignorance nor inaction in the face of such injustice. I spend my time exploring trafficking and violence against women in order to do my little part in helping to make the world a more just, more egalitarian place. I believe that anyone with the resources and ability to contribute to society should do so; I believe that universities should help make the world a better place instead of being what critics refer to as “paper mills”; and I believe that with knowledge comes the responsibility to do something positive with it.
As all activists and others working to change society know, this work is rarely paid and never ends, but I am committed to doing my small part. By the way, I am also an administrator of Occupy Hong Kong’s Facebook page.
Angie Ng is a PhD student at the University of Durham.
Categories: Research Profiles