So I was reading No Tears For Mao by Niu-Niu this morning (my second book on China this week) and came across a chapter that reminded me of a disturbing section of the Old Testament about men who rape women being commanded to marry them. Like any woman who has just been violated wants to marry the scum bag. (So she says from her 21st century perspective ...)
I remembered when David's son raped his half sister and when he sent
her away after the rape, she cried out that this was even more wrong!
My Bible's study notes read:
Tamar was no longer a virgin, Amnon could spare her some humiliation if
he would own up to what he had done to her. By Israelite custom she
would be forced to remain unmarried for the rest of her life. She
therefore sought to be married to Amnon which, because of his sexual
assault, was her right (Deut. 22:28-29).
It's kind of disturbing that patriarchy is so AWFUL that marrying your rapist is a right for women. (So she says from her 21st century perspective...I know, I know.)
Or that women are considered so invaluable that having been violated meant she had to remain single the rest of her life.
The book I was reading was talking about the mid-seventies. As in not even forty years ago..so yeah 1976 to be exact.
And this is in China so not exactly Jewish Law here either.
Well, the story is that this woman was sent into the countryside for
reeducation and when she refused to marry a "brutish" and "coarse"
party official, he took his revenge by raping her.
Then he did
"the most humiliating thing you could do to a woman" which was "forcing
her to appear before a self-criticism session with a pair of shoes
around her neck" signaling she was "damaged goods" in a
The young lady demanded justice, but due to this
man's power, no one dared oppose him. So he "became even more arrogant
and abusive: ... stripping and raping her in front of a group of
All sorts of injustices happened after that, but this is what reminded me of the Old Testament passages.
When the woman's family found out, they tried to get some justice
for her, but the judge said there was no way of finding out if it were
rape or consensual sex.
"Feeling completely desperate, my uncle
realized his daughter's life was ruined since no young man would want to
marry her; the only solution was to marry her to the man who had
defiled her. Lien-hua had reluctantly agreed to this. It was the only
way for her to have a home and to expiate her shame, save face and,
consequently, lead a normal life. The entire family was on its knees -
begging this creature, promising anything that he demanded. My uncle
offered to give him his savings, so that they could buy furniture and
whatever else was needed to set up a household, but the rapist continued
to balk." (pg. 165)
Oh my word. Can you imagine your parents and cousins begging a brutal
rapist to marry your precious relative in order to save face and live a
I declare, people, we are so so so so blessed to not be born in some cultures. These books about Chinese women are eye-opening.
I suppose if this were the status of women of the world thousands of
years ago, making rapists obligated to care for their victims was a step
up. It seems bad for me looking backward, but if your sole purpose in
life was to have a husband and children and having been defiled meant no
one would marry you ...
*whew* I wonder if much has changed in China regarding women's rights in these last 40 years.
I hope so.