updated 21 Jul 2013, 00:23
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Fri, Dec 07, 2012
The New Paper
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They fight domestic violence by going nude

The photos showed women with slogans written across their chests in red ink, symbolising blood.

They read: “Proud to be flat-chested; shame on domestic violence”, “Don’t hurt her; love my body” and “Liberate gender, eliminate violence”.

Miss Dian Dian, 23, a graduate student in history at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, was one such woman who posted her picture online because she felt “it was the right thing to do”.

The photos are part of a growing online movement in China which is pushing for an anti-domestic violence law, Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post reported.

The decision to publish the nude photos was made by the women individually and was not part of an orchestrated effort.

Many of the women do not know each other and hail from different parts of the country, including Hong Kong, Shandong and Beijing.

Among the activists are Miss Xiong Jing, a 24-year-old web editor with a graduate degree in gender studies.

She signed an online petition – expecting to garner 10,000 signatures – that would be sent to the National People’s Congress to call for action.

Miss Xiong also posted online pictures of herself naked to challenge misconceptions about what it means to be a victim.

She told SCMP: “This is a very powerful image and something that smashes a taboo. I hope it gets people thinking about the relationship between domestic violence and the naked body.

“I like the saying that the body is a battlefield. I wanted to use this approach to show my support for women and raise awareness about violence against women.”

The campaign began on Nov 6.

Transparency wanted

The petition, which has collected more than 5,000 signatures, calls for more transparency in the legislative process to allow greater participation by ordinary people, a legal mechanism to ensure accountability and funds for non-governmental organisations that help women.

Miss Xiong said she is thrilled that more and more women are posting nude pictures of themselves, no matter what their body looks like.

She said: “I was very self-conscious at first... but when I saw the first photo coming from a flat-chested girl, I felt she was very brave to stand up to criticism in a male-dominated society.

“I think that’s really admirable.”

Miss Dian added: “The use of the body in language is powerful. Posing nude might seem irrelevant to the problem of domestic violence, but our bodies are closely tied to the struggle.

“Domestic violence has long been regarded as a private matter (in traditional Chinese households).

“The question of privacy is also relevant to women’s bodies.”

Meanwhile, Ms Feng Yuan, chairwoman of the China Anti-Domestic Violence Network, said it would be another two to three years before the National People’s Congress enacts the law.

She said that China was only beginning to realise the gravity of the issue.

She said: “What these young women are doing is very courageous. They are expressing the idea that women themselves are in charge of their bodies.”


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