Female College Students Call For Fighting Campus Sexual Harassment

September 11, 2014
Editor: Sophia Zhu
Female College Students Call For Fighting Campus Sexual Harassment
Little red riding hood in Beijing [Provided by Media Monitor for Women Network]

"My body is not a gift," at 10 am on September 10, a young woman dressed in a red cape and brandishing a shield appeared at the gate of Xiamen University in southeast China's Fujian Province.

On the same day, other young students dressed as little red riding hood also appeared in Beijing Foreign Studies University, Fudan University, Zhejiang University, Wuhan University and other famous universities in nine cities.

This performance-protest of female college students in China was organized in order to establish the standardized prevention of sexual harassment on campus as soon as possible. Meanwhile, they also sent an appeal letter titled "Chinese universities’ sexual harassment prevention norms" to universities.

Campus sexual harassment has been heavily reported in recent years. A sexual harassment case reported in Xiamen University this June has drawn great attention.

Xiao Wu (pseudonym), a graduate of Xiamen University, has been following the news of the sexual harassment case in her alma-mater. However the university still has not yet released a report on the incident.

"I hope they will give us a result, and this kind of thing doesn’t just happen in Xiamen University," said Xiao Wu.

Xiao Wu is not alone. Zhu Xixi (pseudonym), a PhD candidate in Zhejiang University said, "Sexual harassment is really common. It has become a subtle rule now. However, the victims here have no power to say no. We dress like little red riding hood today because little red riding hood is weak but has the wisdom to fight against the bad wolf. We hope that society and schools will do something about this."

Drafting Sexual Harassment Prevention Specifications

In addition to the performance art held at the university gate, students also sent 116 "211 Project" universities a letter of appeal. In the letter, they recommended that the principal research and develop a policy of campus sexual harassment prevention norms. The letter also came with an attached copy of their drafting of the "Chinese universities sexual harassment prevention norms."

According to one of the drafters of the proposed norms, Xiao Ying, a student in Beijing, said that sexual harassment is clearly prohibited under the law, the "Education Law" stipulates that schools have an obligation to "safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the educated." Education professionals issued a "Code of Ethics of College Teachers,' which also requires schools to pay close attention to the formulation or revision of the university's ethics norms and implementation details. Xiao Ying said that "sexual harassment on campus is not only a moral issue, it is more likely to involve a criminal offense. This behavior tends to occur on campus, the perpetrators are the school's staff, the school has the responsibility to establish a mechanism to prevent and deal with such issues."

Xiao Ying said that foreign universities have a clear definition and regulation of sexual harassment, which can protect all students in a fair and safe environment.

The draft gives a very clear definition of sexual harassment as well as procedures in handling complaints. They also propose that schools should prohibit romantic relationships involving direct power relations between teachers and students. Xiao Wen explains such romantic relationship can be the result of abuse of power and are unfair to students.

Lv Pin, head of the media monitor for women network said that "Little Red Riding Hood" issued a sound action against sexual harassment of young women, so that schools and society can see their power.

(Source: Media Monitor for Women Network/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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