A middle school in eastern China’s Anhui province is facing criticism online for publishing and distributing pamphlets claiming that girls who smoke and drink may be more likely to get raped.
The pamphlet, widely circulated online after being posted to a feminist account on microblogging platform Weibo on Monday, was created by Tongling No. 15 Middle School as a reference for teachers speaking to students about sexual assault. It emphasized that students should “behave properly” so offenders will “dispel any thoughts and attempts” to sexually assault them and included statements aimed specifically at girls.
“Some rape victims have bad habits like smoking and drinking, undoubtedly causing offenders to view them as potential victims,” read the pamphlet. “60% of rape cases occur between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., with most of the victims being sexually liberal and thus not protecting themselves from being seduced by male strangers.”
In recent years, high-profile sexual misconduct cases involving media professionals, university professors, and activists have achieved some visibility. However, a culture of silence, victim-blaming, and slut-shaming still deters many from speaking out.
The school’s vice principal, surnamed Yang, told The Beijing News on Tuesday that although the pamphlet was intended to be educational, it was indeed inappropriate. He said that the school lacked professional resources regarding education on sexual assault and that a teacher at the school had gathered the information from online sources.
Chinese netizens have expressed outrage over the pamphlet, with many accusing the school of perpetuating rape culture and promoting a victim-blaming mentality. “There is only one reason why rape takes place: It is because the offender is a rapist, it has nothing to do with the victim,” one user commented under Monday’s Weibo post about the pamphlet. “I suppose victim-blaming culture is being cultivated at younger and younger ages,” another netizen wrote.
This is not the first time that schools have been called out for sexist classroom materials. In 2016, the education department of the eastern Jiangxi province said it would revise a sex education textbook that called girls who have sex before marriage “degenerates” after an online uproar. A Shanghai publishing house similarly found itself in the spotlight in 2017 for introducing some of the city’s primary school students to a “gender education” textbook, which many said only reinforced gender stereotypes.
Editor: Bibek Bhandari.
(Header image: VCG)