Shanghaiist’s first memory of public sexual harassment in this city dates back to high school, when buses were extremely crowded and rules about what boys shouldn’t say and what they shouldn’t touch had not yet been implemented. Actually … wait a minute … has anything changed since sexual harassment laws were put into place last year? (Yep, last year.) Ms. Sun, in this Beijing Times report, obviously doesn’t think so after she was molested by a 40-something-year-old man on the bus. She called police, who later took both of them to the police station. Sun said she sought the help of one male passenger who was sitting next to her, but he said he couldn’t be a witness because he didn’t notice the encounter — he was watching TV. Sun was told to leave the station and the middle-aged molester was asked to stay. The story doesn’t say what happened after that.
But this Sohu link about the same story adds friendly advice from police to the ladies: Avoid wearing colourful clothing or clothes that expose too much skin; Don’t wear make-up and avoid behaving sexy (WTF?). All these behaviors, the police said, stimulate male passengers on buses. So, basically, you’re asking for it.
With this kind of advice, we assume Ms. Sun will have to wait for a long, long, long time to sort out the charge against her molester. Maybe we should just forget the law and get a handy tin of mace, or just use our camera phones the New York way.
On a side note, this China Today report says:
The first sexual harassment case was heard on July, 2001 in the Lianhu District Court, Xi’an, Shaanxi Province. Ms. Tong, a 30-year-old woman working at a state-owned enterprise, sued her boss for sexual harassment, but her case was rejected after two months because of lack of evidence.
The first woman to win a sexual harassment case was a Ms. He, a teacher who had sued her boss Mr. Sheng. The case was heard on June 9, 2003 in Wuhan, Hubei Province. The court judged that all the facts pertaining to the case were valid, and required of the defendant that he apologize to the plaintiff and compensate her in the sum of RMB 200 for mental cruelty.
On June 3, 2003, the first sexual harassment case was heard in a Beijing court. Lei Man, a 25-year-old woman claimed that as a consequence of rebuffing her manager’s sexual advances on several occasions, he used his connections to restrict her job opportunities in the computer business. The case is still ongoing.
Yeah, we know we said China didn’t get a sexual harassment law until last year. So sexual harassment court cases from five years ago may not make much sense. Get used to it. This is China — not everything makes sense.