Most of the 116 women who were raped, sexually assaulted or robed by a farmer over 17 years in Linquan county, East China's Anhui province, chose silence instead of justice in fear of losing face, as in many Chinese rural areas, the stigma of rape victimhood are usually received by antipathy, The Beijing News reported.
Dai Qingcheng was sentenced to death by a court on December 1, 2010 for allegedly raping and attempting to rape 116 women from 1993 to 2009, sometimes in front of the victims' relatives. He was also suspected of robbing 32,549 yuan in 91 incidents and stealing items worth a total of 32,945 yuan in 23 cases. Dai has filed an appeal with a higher court and is now waiting the trial.
Linquan county, which has a population of 2.13 million, has 600,000 to 800,000 people working in big cities, with the women, children, and elderly people left behind at the agriculture-based region, according to The Beijing News.
Ming Tian, Dai's lawyer, said most victims remained silent because the traditional culture held that "Domestic shame should not be published." At least in one case, a husband beat his wife after she reported the sexual assault by Dai. Of the over 100 cases that Dai confessed, police received few reports from the victims, who refused to talk about the sexual assaults when approached by police.
A document from the local public security office said that "as young adults migrate to work in other places, there's an increase in thefts of agricultural products, materials and poultry." In places like Baimiao Township of Linquan, about 40 percent of its 570,000 people worked far from home.
Local police said they suffer from a shortage of officers while the village-based voluntary security unit can only recruit people over 50 years old.
The case generated wide attention on the Internet as people discuss the rights of the women left-behind when their husbands have to leave home to find job opportunities in cities.