fredag 25. juni 2021

Confronting China’s Child Sex Abuse Crisis: The Story of Sisi

Sisi doesn’t wear women’s clothes anymore. It’s too dangerous. The 20-year-old meets Sixth Tone outside the factory where she works in Dongguan, the southern Chinese export hub. Emerging from a crowd of workers clocking off the day shift at 8 p.m., she looks completely different from the girl we interviewed five years ago. Her hair is cropped short, her figure concealed by a baggy shirt and jeans. On her feet are a pair of men’s leather loafers. The outfit helps her avoid unwanted attention from men, she says. “I feel much safer this way,” Sisi tells Sixth Tone.

The comment is a sobering reminder of the trauma the young woman has experienced. Sisi, a pseudonym, is arguably the biggest reason China was forced to confront the prevalence of sexual abuse against minors. A survivor of multiple rapes, her case focused public attention on an issue that had previously been a taboo subject in Chinese society.

Yet her story also shows how much more needs to be done to protect China’s girls and young women. While the government has increased efforts to deter sex crimes in recent years, survivors still face stigma and struggle to find justice. And this lack of support inflicts further emotional scars.