fredag 26. november 2021

Peng Shuai and Zhang Gaoli: why didn’t she just leave?

I was shocked to read the allegations of sexual assault against former Politburo standing committee member Zhang Gaoli by star tennis player Peng Shuai. Given that Peng had risked everything in writing them, I felt I had a responsibility to read every word with care and attention, especially given that those words were my sole source of information about the whole affair.

This is a text that will induce cognitive dissonance in many; it doesn't just expose male violence: it is also the product of it. It needs a feminist reading to avoid widespread misunderstanding of Peng Shuai and other female victims. Through my reading of those 1,600 characters, I have tried to form an understanding of Peng and her abnormal relationship with Zhang, and link it to broader issues of structural and cultural violence. The question at the back of my mind is always: why do so many female victims find it so hard to leave?