The courtroom’s resolution was met by anger. Many legislation specialists criticized the ruling. Liú Jiāliáng 刘加良, a legislation professor at Shandong College, mentioned the courtroom’s interpretation of “burden of proof” was problematic — particularly in He’s case, that she needed to show “past an inexpensive doubt” (the usual utilized in legal proceedings) that an assault occurred, moderately than show it with a “excessive diploma of likelihood” (the usual utilized in most civil fits).
The legislation, sadly, places victims in a bind. Studies have proven that 20% of sexual assault circumstances find yourself with the accused suing the accuser for defamation — and in most of those circumstances, the defamation circumstances are simpler to win.
“Many instances, within the absence of direct proof, the courtroom must determine whose testimony is extra credible,” Lǐ Yíng 李莹, director of the Yuanzhong ladies’s rights middle, wrote in an article. She slammed the courtroom’s ruling on He Qian’s case. “It’s boastful to undertake ‘past an inexpensive doubt’ because the burden of proof,” she mentioned. “[The court] lacks empathy for victims, ignoring a number of components that go into sexual assault circumstances. It has discouraged future victims from in search of authorized assist.”
He Qian was amongst a small handful of ladies to disclose their actual names throughout China’s #MeToo motion. At the very least 52 women, most of them nameless, have accused tycoons, celebrities, professors, and journalists of sexual assault since 2018, with their testimonies gaining widespread help on social media.
“After I mentioned my identify out loud, my testimony grew to become extra credible,” He Qian wrote in an article titled “Know My Name” on November 10, 2020. “I’ll get up and maintain talking out.”
For her, the previous decade-plus have been a means of steadily eliminating the disgrace she felt after being assaulted. She mentioned she nonetheless suffers from PTSD, and infrequently breaks down whereas recounting the incident. In 2009, the story goes, when she was a 21-year-old intern on the information journal Phoenix Weekly, she went to Deng Fei’s resort room at his request to debate a narrative. It was there that he forcibly kissed and groped her.
She first revealed the assault in August 2018, posting on Zou Sicong’s WeChat account and giving a forceful voice to #MeToo. However she was attacked by those that mentioned she “hid behind anonymity to destroy a public celeb.”
“The perfect response was revealing my identify and identification,” He Qian informed me. In her article “Know My Title,” she writes about how the expertise of detailing the assault compelled her to confront the trauma.
“I felt an unprecedented launch,” He Qian wrote. “Narrating the occasions in public is painful, however gave me a way of serenity.”
After her first testimony on July 17, 2019, she mentioned she turned again to see her attorneys and pals crying. It was then, throughout that highly effective second, that she had felt nearer to them than ever.
Talking out has additionally empowered different victims. Many individuals, each on-line or offline, have informed He Qian their tales about being sexually assaulted. They’ve revealed their traumatic experiences within the remark part on her article, cried over the telephone, and hugged her in actual life, in search of consolation within the different’s expertise.
It was earlier than the trial that He Qian additionally met Zhou Xiaoxuan, a.ok.a., Xiánzi 弦子, who in 2018 accused distinguished state media host Zhū Jūn 朱军 of sexually harassing her in 2014. She and Xianzi bonded and accompanied one another of their respective trials in numerous cities. (Xianzi had her day in court last month in Beijing, although Zhu Jun no-showed.)
“If the courtroom can’t give us justice, we’ll ask for it from society; if we are able to’t get justice in the mean time, we’ll ask for it from historical past,” He Qian mentioned.
The way forward for the #MeToo motion doesn’t essentially rely upon one case, however circumstances like He Qian’s and Xianzi’s will affect future circumstances, mentioned Lǐ Sīpán 李思磐, director of the feminist NGO New Media Ladies Community.
“He Qian’s case could not change the jurisprudence from 10 years again, however this case, along with a sequence of different circumstances, will change future courtroom judgments,” Li mentioned. “This case was misplaced due to a scarcity of proof, so folks will know to maintain proof [of assault] and name the police in the event that they discover themselves in an analogous scenario.”
The #MeToo motion will even proceed to push legislative reform to stop sexual assault, shield victims, and maintain perpetrators accountable, Li mentioned.
“I felt I used to be stripped bare on-line as I let folks gaze in and look at my experiences and trauma,” He Qian mentioned. “I preserve hope that it’s going to have been worthwhile.”