Issues
Amanda Pendolino
June 06, 2013

China Tells Women to Cover Up to Avoid Sexual Harassment, Tells Men Nothing


If they want to avoid sexual harassment, women shouldn’t wear miniskirts, hot pants and other skimpy clothing — even during the hot summer.

According to Shanghaiist, that’s the latest advice by the traffic department of the Beijing Public Security Bureau. Women are also advised to sit on lower levels and shelter themselves with bags or newspapers to avoid being photographed.

Groping and harassment are problems for women in Beijing, where buses and subways get very crowded.

“It is hard for us to collect evidence in sexual harassment cases despite cameras on buses and subways,” Xing Wei, a Beijing police officer, said. “It is also difficult to train public transportation workers to assist women in harassment prevention and response.”

Uhh, why is it so hard to train them?

Here’s another head-scratcher: Wang Jiansheng, director of the security department with the Fourth Transport Company under Beijing Public Transport Holdings Ltd, said that the “best safety method” is to ask conductors to remind women to protect themselves.

“When a woman informs the company that she has been sexually harassed, we’ll report to the police and assist them in the investigation,” Wang said. But he also said the company has no system in place to take complaints — and most of the buses don’t have cameras. Glad everybody’s on the same page here.

Maybe there should be some kind of rule or system? Crazy, I know!

Even crazier — maybe we should target sexual harassers and teach men not to harass! Oh, sexual harassment is the victim’s problem? Got it, China.

Of course, sexual assault on public transportation is a problem everywhere. Kimberly MatusNew York Times piece “I Was Groped on the Subway” from last month (and its 588 comments) demonstrate just how widespread this problem is.