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"A Heartbroken News that Raises Gender Issues" by Milly Chen

No matter how old I am, my parents are most concerned about my safety, not only because I am their daughter, but also because this society is dangerous for women. I am an adult now, but my mother still always tells me not to stay out too late when I am alone. Violence against women actually happens every day, and this news is just one of them that reflects the harm women suffer. Tangshan harassment and beating incidents made me speechless because it is not only the physical oppression of men to women, but also violence to the spirit of civilization.

Video footage of the Tangshan attack, which took place in the early hours of June 10, shows a man approaching a table where three girls were sitting. He placed his hand on the back of one of them. This girl pushed him away. The second time attempting to touch the girl's back, he slapped her after being rejected. When her friends tried to help the girl and prevent a fight, the other men with the man who slapped rushed to the table and punched three girls. They dragged the girl who refused to be touched on her back outside and repeatedly kicked her to the ground as other diners looked on.

Scrolling through Wechat, a link article titled You Don't get to tell women to "protect themselves." provoked my attention. Yishui Tang, a male role model posted his response to advocate justice. “In this whole vicious incident, the fist or slap is bound to cause another trauma to women's collective security,” Tang writes, “Violence against women should never be something that women should fear, but something that society as a whole should shame.” Telling girls to "protect themselves" is essentially perpetuating a patriarchal society and imposing values of "strong men are the norm.”

After reviewing the video on the internet, my body was shaking and my breath seemed to be taken away. The majority said they are too scared to go forward for their protection, but I want to ask if all bystanders unite together to resist the brutal men, at least the girls could be less affected by some of the damage. Self-preservation is not a reason to be cynical and it's only by working together that violence can be subdued. I cannot imagine how helpless and desperate the girl must feel when four men beat her up. If people who were there stand out bravely, the result might be different.

For years, activists have tried to highlight the country's cavalier attitude to violence against women, only to be told that gender has nothing to do with it. According to Feng Yuan, the head of Beijing Equality, a women’s rights and gender equality non government organization “gender-based violence is gender-based violence and that gender-based violence should not be simply regarded as a general social security incident.”

An old Chinese quote says that “A single spark can start a prairie fire.” Women actively express their thoughts on social media, but those faint hopes were dashed by the restrictions imposed by online publication. It is difficult for women’s voices to be heard. This news “ends ” without details, truth and justice. Speaking up for victims and punishing abusers is what the public wants to see. For all of us who are here, we should feel fortunate to be survivors. If society continues to neglect gender issues, we may become the next victim.


Press, Associated. “2 Women Still Hospitalized after Brutal Attack in Tangshan.” – The Diplomat, For The Diplomat, 21 June 2022,

“Tangshan Stripped of 'Civilized' Status after Assault Sparks China Outrage over Male Violence.”, NBCUniversal News Group, 23 June 2022,

Wang, Vivian. “Brutal Beating of Women in China Highlights the Risk of Saying 'No'.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 15 June 2022,

Milly Chen, an international student from China, is a peer reader at school Writing Hub. Her pieces have been published in Young Scholars Journal and Teen Inks. Since 8th grade, she started her creative writing journey and attended various writing contests. To treasure delightful memories and appreciate meaningful things in life, she loves writing diaries. Even though it was difficult to not go back home for two years, she used writing to relieve stress. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, dancing, reading and watching movies. She is excited to share her unique story and read people’s wonderful work.

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