About four months ago, prominent feminist activist Xiao Meili began her long trek from Beijing to Guangzhou as part of her new project: Beautiful Feminist Walk—A Protest Against Sexual Abuse to Promote Women’s Freedom. Xiao plans to walk the entire 2,000 kilometers in protest of sexual harassment and sexual abuse while informing local governments about her cause and collecting signatures and donations.
Xiao is known for her lead acting role in the Chinese version of the Vagina Monologues and for her various feminist projects promoting sexual equality and freedom. One Valentine’s Day 2012, Xiao and two other women dressed up in blood-splattered gowns to protest domestic violence. In August 2013, she shaved her head in protest of discrimination against women in prospective student university enrollment.
Now she’s taking the road on foot, staging performances and handing out information to local governments while documenting it on her blog.
In the results of a survey released in May 2013, over 50 percent of Chinese men admitted to physically or sexually abusing their partners.
“The widely accepted norms about masculinity are a major driving force for the prevalence of domestic violence against women,” Wang Xiangxian, an associate professor of sociology from Tianjin Normal University who participated in the research, told China Daily.
“It’s pointless to talk about the abstract idea of gender equality if we don’t eliminate the prejudice that is accepted by individuals, communities and even the whole society,” she said.
In the same month of last year, Chinese media had also exposed at least seven cases of school-aged children being sexually molested or physically abused within 20 days, leading to China’s supreme court ordering harsher punishments to child abusers.