Chinese campuses should establish sex-ed departments

By Su Liya Source:Global Times Published: 2018/2/8 19:13:40

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Anti-sexual assault scholars in Belgium recently organized an exhibition titled "What were you wearing?" showing a variety of ordinary clothes worn by real female victims at the time they were sexually assaulted.

The aim of the unusual exhibition was to raise an awareness that women should not be blamed for their sexual assault no matter how provocatively dressed they might have been. However, in Chinese society, many still believe that female victims "deserved" their assaults.

Many Chinese women who were assaulted prefer to stay silent rather than endure criticism and blame from society. This is especially prevalent at Chinese schools, where a number of female students recently emboldened by the #MeToo movement have revealed their secret torments.

Among most universities and colleges in China, not a single one has a department specifically to deal with sexual harassment, which is why Chinese students expect so little support from the administration if they are assaulted by another student or even a professor.

What makes this matter worse is the fact that most security officers on campus are older men who do not understand or trust what young female victims tell them.

Therefore, special female-managed departments dedicated to dealing with sexual harassment on campus should be established to help victims report their cases and offer them support and counseling.

A recent survey indicated that over 70 percent of 6,500 Chinese students have suffered sexual harassment but failed to report the incident, according to

"When she tries to speak out about her experience, she will face a bad reputation and morality judgment," Wei Tingting, the survey initiator, told media. In other words, the victim will be judged rather than helped.

Sadly, many Chinese professors are able to directly control whether students graduate, so some initiate romantic affairs with their female students. These young women, aware that the professor could destroy their future if they oppose his carnal desires, allow the abuse to take place.

These victims not only fear their professors, but are also disappointed by the police, as many feel that the authorities will not take their report seriously.

Luo Qianqian, a former doctoral student in Beihang University in Beijing, recently used Weibo to accuse her professor, Chen Xiaowu, of sexually harassing her and several other students. Luo had kept silent for over a decade before deciding to come out following the #MeToo movement in the West.

When I was a university student, sex education classes were not offered by my university.  Even worse, my classmates did not talk openly about sex, so I had no idea what was wrong or right, normal or abnormal, when it came to sexual encounters with male students or teachers.

Fortunately, in recent weeks the idea of setting up departments to solve sexual harassment complaints on campus is beginning to strike a chord across Chinese social.

In terms of setting up these departments, I do believe that a monitor-and-report mechanism will be needed. Sex education courses should also be offered to university students, as college is when many young Chinese men and women begin experimenting. Finally, emergency response systems and legal aids must also be provided.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Global Times.

Posted in: TWOCENTS

blog comments powered by Disqus