How sexual violence against children is misconstrued in China

Sex-related topics are often viewed with myopic goggles around China, and most educators who dare to discuss sex in public or among children always get it distorted for fear of either portraying themselves as perverts or attracting the wrath of unrepentant traditionalists who view sex education as a taboo.

In light of the “socio-cultural backwardness” with regards to people’s perception of sex education in the Asian country, a state-owned news outlet recently kicked off a campaign on sexual violence against children.

People’s Daily published an educative article through its social media platforms to teach sex education with the intention of helping parents protect their children.

However, some online critics kicked against the idea, suggesting that such lessons should be more productive in schools rather than on social media platforms.

“Recently, the topic “sexual abuse of children” (儿童性侵) has again attracted people’s attention. From 2013 to 2016, the media have reported at least 1401 child sexual abuse cases, and in over 70% of these cases, it was an acquaintance who committing the crime. What is considered sexual abuse of children? What should parents do to protect their children from sexual harassment? Do not turn sex into a taboo [lit. “turn green at the mention of sex” 谈性色变]. The more they don’t know, the more dangerous it is for the children.” – China Daily.

The viral post had some pictorial images with instructions on how people should protect their children.

“Parents should teach their children what is inappropriate behavior! Other people should not touch your intimate areas, even if seems fun.”

Children should learn that only mommy, daddy or family members should be allowed to see their private parts.

Except doctors or nurses who are permitted to wash, wipe or dress up kids as well as observe such private parts in case of illnesses, no other person should be allowed to do so.

The post also advised parents to be expletive in explaining why children should not watch porny videos or images.

Parents were urged to teach their children that it is abnormal for people to take them into private rooms and touch their private parts.

Children should know that they’re not allowed to show other people their private parts, or let others show them theirs.

It is not normal to kiss children against their wish, the article added.

The post also advised that children should learn how to scream NO at any time or place if someone goes contrary to what they’ve been taught.

Children should never keep secrets from their parents, especially if someone tells them anything and request that they keep such away from mommy and daddy.

Kids should also learn that they’re no allowed to accept drinks from strangers.

Nearly 92% of all reported child sexual abuse cases involved girls, the infographics say.

However, it added that only around 7% of those cases involved boys, stressing that the low percentage doesn’t suggest that more boys aren’t suffering different forms of sexual abuse just like their female counterparts.

The article attracted mixed reactions from readers; some people commended all efforts from People’s Daily while many others kicked against sex education in public places. Most parents are conservative when it comes to buying sex education books for children.

“There’s just nothing to do about it when parents are unwilling to teach their children sexual education,” one of the commenters wrote on Weibo said.