China, the Olympics and the S.P.C.A.

>     Last week the petite, young wife of a Chinese TV News and Sports Reporter interrupted a televised promotional event meant to outline her husband’s TV station’s coverage of the pending Chinese Olympics. It seems the wife had, only hours prior, discovered that her husband was having an affair and took the opportunity to let the world know as well. A video of the actual event is floating around YouTube. In today’s world, there really are no secrets…at least not for long.
    Several aspects of this story grip me.
    First, we have a daughter from China. Watching several men trying to “corral” that petite young woman and move her off the stage was sad. But the aftermath is more than sad, it’s disgraceful. I have read that the young woman has been arrested, without benefit of judge or jury, and will remain incarcerated until after the Olympics. If this is true, human rights and womens’ groups around the world should be expressing their outrage. And if that’s not enough to have her released, may I suggest that no female athlete participate in the upcoming Olympics to be held in China unless she’s released. There may not be many ways to move an elephant…but there are a few.
    I take more than a little comfort in knowing that while I wish that someday my daughter enters into a loving, committed marriage, should that turn out not to be the case she will have the option to simply hire a lawyer and secure her marital rights. I’ll lose no sleep wondering if she’ll wind up in jail for making public the shameful behavior her husband tried to keep private.
    Secondly, let’s talk about that husband’s alleged behavior. If true, it’s certainly not confined to China and Now. It’s as old as recorded history, as is the unequal societal and legal responses to men who are promiscuous versus women who are. Under Sharia law, women are beheaded for that which men are admired. Even in democratic countries, there is still societal stigma and lowered opinion of women who have affairs. Yet, men wear them as some sort of accomplishment and are not subject to the same reactions. In fact, my husband has a “cute” little expression he favors about the male sex drive. He summarizes it by saying, “Basically, we’re dogs.” And while I believe he’s been true to our commitment, I think the saying is a rationale and justification for avoiding the challenges of growing past an ineffective perspective that inhibits real intimacy. Make no mistake, I condone neither male nor female infidelity. I simply condemn double standards and unequal justice.
    Thirdly, and most importantly, is the power of one, female voice. While I am certain there are those who would try and paint that young Chinese woman as mentally unstable, lacking in self-esteem, or vengeful, they would be wrong. It took a Herculean amount of courage to do what she did. To do it, she had to risk the outcry of the established thinking that she knew would follow, she had to announce to the world that her husband found her, in some petty way, “insufficient” (although his alleged behavior says infinitely more about his insufficiencies than hers), she had to face the consequences that might, and apparently have, resulted, and she had to anticipate living with the memory of her actions forever. This was a courageous act and, further, she had the inner strength to tie her comments to the lack of a human rights policy in China. What she was saying by that connection is that no nation can be a great nation without respecting equally all of its citizens. All means each...regardless of race, ethnicity, religious or political affiliation, age, and gender.
So, a petite young woman from China has shone light upon a whole host of issues. She has done her job and done it well.
    Now the question remains, what do you and I do?

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