Shattering the Silence

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Photo courtesy of Eugene Hung

Long-term math substitute teacher Eugene Hung (right) was a featured panelist at the KPCC panel in May 2018 where he discussed the impact of the #MeToo movement on faith communities. In addition to his work as a speaker, Hung has written for various faith-based and secular publications, such as the Huffington Post, Sojourners, Red Letter Christians and Christians for Biblical Equality.

Content warning: This article contains information on domestic violence and sexual assault.

Silence engulfs the crowded auditorium at the 2019 Christians for Biblical Equality International Conference in Houston. Long-term math substitute teacher Eugene Hung steps up to the podium as the spotlight readjusts to illuminate his face. He takes a deep breath before approaching the microphone. And just like that, the silence breaks.

Hung is a firsthand witness to the stigma surrounding sexual violence that has long perpetuated this silence in the church. Having worked as a church minister for 12 years, he fuses his background in theology with his involvement in activism.

Though some people will try to minimize [my daughters’ voices] because they’re girls, because they’re girls of color, that they don’t have to take that. And they shouldn’t.… Not every field is fully open and accessible to them, but I’ll do my darndest to keep mobilizing men and boys to make change in that respect”

— Eugene Hung

“Churches rarely talk about sex, much less sexual violence,” Hung said. “Those are difficult subjects to broach unless somebody intentionally does it in a faith-based context, whether it’s Christianity, Judaism or Islam. I think part of my drive to talk about it as much as I can comes from not having talked about it almost at all.”

Since his time as a minister, Hung has spoken at several conferences, including radio station KPCC’s Unheard LA at California State University, Long Beach and the Christians for Biblical Equality conference. His speeches focused on facilitating healthier dialogue about sexual violence in faith communities, specifically through discussion of the #MeToo movement.

“I really had no idea just how much I took for granted as a man, growing up as a boy in society. And it wasn’t really until nine, 10 years ago where my blindness stopped,” Hung said. “I was really just oblivious to how much girls and women do every day for their personal safety that boys and men almost never think of. And so I wouldn’t have called myself a feminist until probably about 10 years ago.”

Hung sheds light on issues of sexual and relationship violence at public radio station KPCC’s Unheard LA conference. Hung has also spoken at California State University Fullerton, California State University Long Beach, Biola University and UN Women USA Los Angeles. (Eugene Hung)

To expand his activism, Hung began his work as a lead organizer nine years ago for the international nonprofit called the Man Up Campaign.

With the nonprofit, Hung was able to enact tangible change by providing educational resources and training addressing gender-based violence to schools and workspaces, all while deconstructing stereotypes of toxic masculinity.

Hung began speaking about sexual violence at college campuses, such as the University of California, Irvine, where he coordinated anti-violence campus initiatives through the Campus Assault Resources and Education office from 2017-18.

“I’d certainly met with people who are survivors of sexual violence, both men and women,” Hung said. “I certainly counseled them, talked with them, prayed with them, cried with them. I filed police reports, worked with investigators. But I’d never been hit with the statistics as shocking as they are, as well as hit with a peeling back of my male privilege. In a way, I’m kind of reacting against those years of silence.”

As somebody who has always been naturally drawn to storytelling, Hung broke his silence by creating a platform for himself to voice his unfiltered opinions on politics and feminism.

I’d never been hit with the statistics as shocking as they are, as well as hit with a peeling back of my male privilege. In a way, I’m kind of reacting against those years of silence”

— Eugene Hung

This desire eventually led him to create his own blog named “Feminist Asian Dad”—a title that perfectly encapsulated his identity, according to Hung.

“I imagine it’s like people who are musicians who have a song stuck in their hearts that they need to get out or painters who— they’ve got something— and can only express it through something visual or performance,” Hung said. “For me, it’s words.”

Above all, Hung’s desire to participate in feminist movements stems from his experiences with his two daughters, Emery and Avery.

“My wife and I have tried hard since they were little to instill in them a belief in themselves that they have a voice, that their voice matters,” Hung said. “Though some people will try to minimize their voice because they’re girls, because they’re girls of color, that they don’t have to take that. And they shouldn’t.… Not every field is fully open and accessible to them, but I’ll do my darndest to keep mobilizing men and boys to make change in that respect.”