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Chinese university faces backlash over sexism and blaming sexual harassment victims

Chinese university faces backlash after telling its students ‘women who are beautiful and wear revealing clothes are mostly likely to get sexually harassed’

  • The claims were made Monday in a seminar at Shandong Agricultural University
  • Pictures of the lecture slides sparked fury after being posted online by students 
  • One note claimed ‘beautiful women are most likely to be sexually harassed’
  • The institution defended its class, insisting the statements were appropriate

A university in eastern China has been accused of sexism and victim blaming by web users after telling students that women who are ‘beautiful and wear revealing clothes are mostly likely to get sexually harassed’.

The claims were made by a guest lecturer during a Monday seminar at Shandong Agricultural University to teach its female students about self-defence.

The institution insisted the statements were appropriate after pictures of the lecture slides drew a fierce backlash online.

A university in eastern China was accused of sexism and victim blaming by web users after telling students that women who are ‘beautiful and wear revealing clothes are mostly likely to get sexually harassed’. This file photo shows students at Wuhan University on September 26

The incident came to light after the university students shared the photos anonymously on Chinese social media.

In one of the presentation notes, the lecturer listed four types of women who ‘are most likely to be sexually harassed’, including those who ‘are physically attractive, wear revealing clothes and act flirtatiously’.

Another slide urged students to avoid pursuing vanity, through means such as wearing heavy makeup or undergoing plastic surgery, to protect themselves.

The university’s claims were slammed by angered social media users who accused the institution of sexism and suggesting that women were responsible for sexual harassment.

One commenter wrote: ‘They are blaming victims because they think men couldn’t control themselves.’

Another user said: ‘You should educate men to not harass women. What women wear is none of your business.’

The lecturer listed four types of women who ¿are most likely to be sexually harassed¿, including those who ¿are physically attractive, wear revealing clothes and act flirtatiously¿

The lecturer listed four types of women who ‘are most likely to be sexually harassed’, including those who ‘are physically attractive, wear revealing clothes and act flirtatiously’

The incident came to light after the university students shared the photos anonymously on Chinese social media. One slide (pictured) urged students to avoid pursuing vanity, through means such as wearing heavy makeup or wearing revealing clothes, to protect themselves

The incident came to light after the university students shared the photos anonymously on Chinese social media. One slide (pictured) urged students to avoid pursuing vanity, through means such as wearing heavy makeup or wearing revealing clothes, to protect themselves

In response to the online criticism, the Shandong university said in a statement yesterday that it had invited a medical expert to give the seminar to ‘raise self-defence awareness’ among its female students.

‘In the seminar, the lecturer combined their own practical experience from working at universities and hospitals to analyse and explain how female university students could improve their health, avoid disease risks, and improve their personal manners,’ the statement read.

‘The atmosphere of the seminar was relaxed and harmonious, and [we] found no obvious improprieties in the expert’s statements,’ the university said.

Similar incidents have been found at universities and schools in China before, sparking heated discussions in the social conservative country.

Similar incidents have been found at universities and schools in China before, sparking heated discussions in the social conservative country. First-year students are seen marching in formation during a military training at Shenyang Agricultural University on October 24

Similar incidents have been found at universities and schools in China before, sparking heated discussions in the social conservative country. First-year students are seen marching in formation during a military training at Shenyang Agricultural University on October 24

Two Chinese universities – including a prestigious fine arts college – sparked outrage in September after warning female students to ‘avoid wearing revealing clothes to prevent arousing temptation’.

The statement was found in a 50-point safety guide issued by Guangxi University, which also urged women to avoid going out alone.

It was also included in a ‘Freshman Safety Knowledge Handbook’ published by China Academy of Arts, the first arts university in Chinese history.

Earlier this year, a middle school in central China allegedly promoted chastity to its pupils by displaying puritanical posts on the campus.

China has taken some steps towards key demands from its nascent #MeToo movement, with its first-ever civil code - passed in May - expanding the definition of sexual harassment. Huazhong University of Science and Technology students arrive on campus in Wuhan on August 29

China has taken some steps towards key demands from its nascent #MeToo movement, with its first-ever civil code – passed in May – expanding the definition of sexual harassment. Huazhong University of Science and Technology students arrive on campus in Wuhan on August 29

Pictures emerged online in July show a huge signboard at the school’s playground with messages claiming that ‘chaste women have smarter children’ and ‘people who masturbate are poor and cheap’.

China has taken some steps towards key demands from its nascent #MeToo movement, with its first-ever civil code – passed in May – expanding the definition of sexual harassment.

But it remains difficult to get justice for many sexual assault crimes due to conservative attitudes and many women reluctant to come forward.

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