Chinese University Handbook Draws Online Fury Over Rape Comments

A woman wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus plays tennis with her friend at a court in Beijing on Aug. 24. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING (AFP) — A Chinese university has drawn furious criticism on social media after publishing a handbook that said women were raped because they “find it hard to resist temptation.”

The book, a safety guide for new students at the China Academy of Art, warns of the risk of sexual assault in public places on campus like classrooms and dormitories. 

But it prompted a backlash this week after an excerpt was published online that said women fell victim to rape because “they are pretty and handle matters frivolously, are cowardly and powerless to defend themselves… have weak willpower and find it hard to resist temptation.”

The book also claimed that women “love to wear nice clothes and lead a materialistic lifestyle,” sparking a torrent of outraged comments from Chinese social media users.

“Even if a woman runs naked, it is not a reason for rape by a rapist,” lambasted one furious online commentator. 

“The criminal is a criminal and should be punished. Don’t make any argument that the victim is guilty!”

“It’s already the 21st century, this is back to a feudal society,” another lamented.

The school in Zhejiang province stood by the publication on Friday, telling local media that the pages posted online had been “quoted out of context.”

“We are not discriminating against women,” a staffer said. 

China has taken some steps towards key demands from its nascent #MeToo movement, with its first-ever civil code — passed in May — expanding the definition of sexual harassment.

But justice remains elusive for many survivors of sexual assault in the face of conservative attitudes, and with many women reluctant to come forward.

Guidelines published by Guangxi University earlier this month warned women students not to wear “revealing” clothes on campus “to prevent arousing temptation” also met with online fury.

© Agence France-Presse

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