When Faced with a Rapist, Use a Condom

BY THE ASIA! TEAM
May 17, 2011

A Chinese sexuality professor’s remarks spark outrage, musings in the Chinese Internet sphere.

819 Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus 1618

 

As an expert on sexuality, Professor Peng Xiaohui of Central China Normal University is no stranger to controversy, particularly in his native country, where sexual attitudes remain relatively conservative, to say the least. So when he told students that “a woman on the brink of rape should always take the initiative to use a condom”, many were shocked, if not outraged.

A young man in the audience (this was at a talk at Nanjing Normal University) rebutted: “But if a woman offers to use a condom, wouldn’t that mean she consents to being raped?”

Professor Peng smiled, “What, then, do you think she should do, under such circumstances?”

The young man replied: “I feel that for a woman, chastity is very important.”

“So you believe that when confronted with a rapist, a woman should fight to the end, at the risk of losing her life, so as to be a chaste martyr?” asked the professor.

“Yes,” said the young man. “Look at the other cultures around us. Take Korea, for example. Women there carry pocket knives with them, so that when they find themselves in such situations, they will struggle to battle the rapist to the very end.”

I feel that for a woman, chastity is very important.

The young man is not alone in his view. In today’s modern China, 48% of men and 46% of women – that is, nearly half of the population – still believe that a woman’s chastity is of great importance. The media survey also shows 26% of respondents who would choose to “fight the rapist to death to prevent him from getting his way”.

Yet ultimately, isn’t it just male chauvinism at play, asks blogger Xin Feng? When it comes to sexual rights, the Chinese society tends to exact higher moral standards on the woman; it tends to associate female sexual autonomy with self-respect and dignity. But the right to live is the most basic of all human rights – without life, what’s there left of dignity to speak of?

Blogger Li Jin Lei thinks Professor Peng’s proposition is good (condoms help fight unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted illnesses), but an impractical one. Firstly not many people (in China) go around carrying condoms, least of all women. Secondly the rapist might not use the condom anyway. And finally, wouldn’t the use of condoms destroy any evidence of the rape?

Well, some food for thought for the day.