It has once again been a bad week for women in China. One step forward and a 50 meter sprint backwards. While in May, the Chinese Supreme Court said that harsher punishments should be handed down for sex offenders against children (not that they stipulated what those punishments should actually be or put in measures to ensure they would be enacted, but, you know, there is a precedent now at least, I guess), this week child-rape victims are continuing to be victimized by local governments.
The Ruichang, Jiangxi city deputy-mayor (who is a woman) said that the parents of 6 girls who were raped by their teacher and contracted genital warts should not be asking for a single penny from the government in recompense. She said “the teacher has been arrested, the principle has been suspended, what more can we do?” Lots, actually. Make sure you do thorough background checks of teachers and implement safety procedures so that teachers are not left alone with students. You can conduct sexual harassment training for teachers. You can have sex-ed classes for students so they know what is and isn’t appropriate interaction with teachers, now to say ‘no,’ and to know that it’s OK to come forward and speak out when they are abused. You can help make sure the students receive continual medical help and get them psychiatric treatments. But the deputy-mayor, Jiang Xianzhi, said the parents should be silent and go away. She said, “if it were my child, I would take her for treatment somewhere discreet that no one knows, and not ask for a penny from the government.” Because victim blaming, victim shaming, and silence are the best ways to protect our children from pedophiles. And most parents can totally afford costly medical and psychiatric treatments for their children. What a completely shameful thing for this woman to say. I really fear for the safety of her daughter and would call into questioning her fitness as a parent.
In another city in China this week, in Guangxi province, a 15-year old girl was repeatedly raped by a 25-year old man. The parents claim that the poor girl lost her mind as a result and was taken away to a mental health facility against her and her parents’ will. The rapist has not been arrested or charged. The father of the rapist originally attempted to buy the family off, offering money and even marriage of the girl to her rapist (which is even more horrible than I can imagine). It seems like the parents were interested in the settlement because they didn’t immediately go to the police. It was only after two days of the rapist’s father not answering calls and reneging on his settlement promises that the parents contacted authorities.
This case is full of problems and blame lies at the feet of everyone but the victim. The family of the rapist is completely complacent about this problem, and it is disgusting that people think they can simply buy off or marry off rape victims and get away with it. It is especially worrying that the parents would even entertain the idea of a settlement without involving the police. This must be a frighteningly common practice. And why are the police being so worthless and not arresting the rapist? Pathetic excuse for law enforcement as usual.
Both of these cases highlight the level of victim blaming and shame still associated with rape in China. It is still preferred for Chinese people (especially women) to keep silent and swallow their pain instead of getting justice.