I found out today that one of my former coworkers filed charges on rape. What happened was terrible and it should have never happened, but I’m not surprised that it did. I know who the man is and I know what city she is working in so it’s really not that surprising. What is surprising is that she said something about it, and I can’t be happier for her. It’s about time women in China stand up for themselves against the terrible odds.
I don’t think that people talk about the abuse that women get in China, but it is very common. It’s in fact so common that getting assaulted is not a big deal. That’s what my Chinese friends tell me at least. After being grabbed or fondled by strangers, I’d feel violated and talk to some of my Chinese girlfriends and that’s what they would tell me – it’s really common, it’s not a big deal, it happens all the time. Well, just because it happens all the time does not mean it’s right! None of my Chinese girlfriends are really willing to talk about this topic if they have any experience in it. After living in China for a few years, I’ve started to understand their mind set.
After my first experience being assaulted in China, I was very freaked out. I was fine, my friend stepped in and got the guy away from me, but it was still a scary experience. So I talked to my Korean neighbor about what happened and what I should do. She told me that there was nothing I could do. She’s had bad experiences as well and didn’t always have a rescuer like me. Well, she’s tried running to safety in a small store only to be kicked out by the shop clerk who didn’t want a confrontation in his business. She’s tried talking to our school or the police only to have them blame her for leading the man on. There is no way to prove what happened and no one will believe your story. Since the blame is put on the woman, it’s a loss of face that women don’t want to admit to and since admitting it doesn’t help, they don’t do anything about it.
Talking about it really doesn’t help. The more you tell people, the more they convince you that maybe you shouldn’t have been wearing a skirt or makeup or that you just need to get over it and put it in the past. It’s not the woman’s fault and it doesn’t matter how much money the man has, he has no right to take advantage! In my coworker’s case, I think the main reason no one spoke up before is because the man has enough money and contacts to make the story go away, so it is just easier to save face and walk away. That is why I am so happy that my coworker stood up and filed charges against him! It’s built up a bit of a media storm so he will have a hard time bribing his way out of this one.
I wish that more women stood up against the men that take advantage of them. My former coworker is my hero for being so courageous.
note: Most areas of China are pretty safe for women but there are some particular areas that are very difficult