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Anti-sexual violence campaigner, alleged rape victim Ito holds UN news conference

Freelance journalist Shiori Ito speaks to reporters at a news conference at United Nations headquarters in New York. (Mainichi)

UNITED NATIONS -- Shiori Ito, the 28-year-old freelance journalist who says she was raped by a former Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) reporter in 2015 and has since campaigned to raise awareness of sexual violence, gave a news conference at United Nations headquarters in New York on March 16.

Ito emphasized that in Japan "there is really no support" for rape victims, and that women who report being sexually assaulted face a severe backlash. Ito added that at the time of the alleged assault, there was just one 24-hour rape crisis center in all of Tokyo. She also pointed out that there are few ways for rape victims to get expert help, and that she had to go through the pain of being investigated by male police officers.

Ito has also recently helped launch the "#WeToo" campaign to encourage third parties to take action against sexual harassment. The campaign is an evolution of the recent "#MeToo" movement, sparked by revelations of endemic sexual abuse and harassment in Hollywood.

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