China’s disturbing wedding trend of groomsmen assaulting bridesmaids
Teasing the bride and groom on their wedding day is part of the Chinese wedding custom. However, in recent years this custom has been distorted alarmingly in mainland China to include sexual abuse of the godfathers of honor.
The trend is the center of attention thanks to two recent cases. The first is a viral video that circulates on social networks in China.
The video shows a small bridesmaid and sexually assaulted by two men in a car in Xi’an city. The woman screams and struggles as the two men forcefully abduct her underwear, laugh and order her to “make sexual noises.”
The video was uploaded on social networks June 8 and became viral. Two days later, on June 10, Xi’an police took custody of 19 and 21; The victim, however, said he did not pursue the case against them.
Very often, bridesmaids refrain from reporting abuse to the police because they do not want to “stain” their best friend’s wedding with a criminal investigation.
In addition, it is likely that wedding grooms or wedding guests would defend the assault by claiming that it was part of the Chinese custom of “naohun” – which literally means “to turbulence during a wedding.”
However, the concept of bridesmaids is very Western, not Chinese. If you look closely at the Chinese custom of the wedding, the Chinese bride is assisted by a “wedding master” who is supposed to know all the ritualistic etiquette. Marriage was mainly settled in China until the end of 1900.
It is customary for wedding guests to force the groom to drink, as well as taunts the bride to “stimulate” their first night together. In some areas, wealthy families hired prostitutes to entertain guests, but it was not part of the usual practice.
But now the “naohun” custom has somehow provided an excuse for sexual assault and harassment at the wedding.
“One of the high-risk functions – sexual harassment, rape, and now death”
Another recent case of “naohun” led to worrying extremes ended in tragedy on June 13 in Guangzhou with the death of one of the bridesmaids.
According to reports by local press after the godfathers presented the usual red gift package for the bride’s family, the family reportedly opened the door.
The men ran and chased the brides who ran up to hide. One of the bridesmaids, who are hidden on the fourth floor, died when she fell from a balcony.
Although the case is still under study, users could not help the association of death of the maid of honor “naohun.” Here are some comments in an article on China’s Weibo social media platform:
The maid of honor is a high risk factor – sexual harassment, rape and death now.
Accident? How could he fall if no one pushed? Is sexual harassment and breasts groping not enough? If the custom is so vulgar and night in the life of the people, the government must intervene.
For the victim, to find complicated justice
As for viral video, the media and Internet users affiliated to the State sentenced the two men who attacked the woman.
But after the local news have reported that the lady had forgiven the two men because they were known, some have directed their anger against the lady:
We believe that the maid of honor was intimidated and closed the men online, since she does not want to continue with the matter.
Some were more sympathetic about the maid’s decision. Weibo user “I love Google”, commented a current topic:
Do you want to know why the victim does not want to continue with the matter? Because they have an affiliation with relatives. On the other hand had to mobilize social pressure, accusing the victim to make them lose face and she could not stay in the local community if the case continued.
However, the case is criminal. Even if the victim does not want to prosecute, they can file charges. Police and prosecutors must do their duty.