“I’m asking everyone,” she says, as her eyes begin tearing up. “Protect me, save me!” as she grimaces toward the camera.
The woman identifies herself as Pei Xin, who is from Maanshan in China’s Anhui Province. She provides her government issued ID number, which is similar to giving out one’s social security number, to prove she is not making up the story.
Pei shared the video on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, at about 4:00 p.m. on July 11. The video quickly went viral, receiving over 54 million views in less than 24 hours.
The local police finally responded to Pei’s situation shortly after the video was released that day.
The Plea for Help
After introducing herself in the video, Pei explains that since January, a man from another city, named Guo Yinan, has been sexually harassing her.
In a recorded phone call shared on her Weibo account, Pei indirectly explains that Guo began harassing her over being dissatisfied with goods she sold to him. She said that Guo claimed they were fake, and worth 1.000 yuan ($145). The goods were most likely sold through Taobao, China’s version of Amazon.
She said that instead of resolving the issue through the sales platform, Guo began harassing her. “He’d come to my house and knock on my door, demanding this and that of me,” Pei said in her video.
“Now, he constantly calls me and is telling everyone that I’m his girlfriend,” Pei said. She claims that he’s been telling other family members too about the supposed relationship, and that those people also call her about it.
Then Pei said that she tried to go to the police for help in February. The police ignored her. “They said that if an assault didn’t happen, then you can’t make a case,” Pei said in the video. She said the police told her that nothing could be done, and she was told to leave.
With the lack of response, Pei sent messages on Weibo to all the local police. Then one elderly officer called her and opened a case.
However, the harassment did not stop, according to Pei. She asked the police for more help, but she was refused.
“They said the case had already been opened, so unless he brings a knife to your door to kill you, we can’t do anything,” Pei said. “I asked, ‘can you not be like that?'”
“So do I have to wait until he rapes me?” Pei said in the video. She called the police again and begged for help, but the police refused her once more. When she asked if they could stop being so argumentative with her, the officer simply hung up the phone.
“He has no idea what sexual harassment feels like,” Pei said in her video of the male officer. She said the police in her area wrongly believed that nothing could happen to a woman being sexually harassed.
So instead, Pei asked for help from other Weibo users. She finished by saying that Guo had not only harassed her parents, but also threatened to beat her to death.
Within hours of the post, people began responding with all sorts of comments. Many people attacked Pei, and said she was acting and trying to hype herself up. She was called shallow, a cheat and an attention seeker.
Some offered sincere help, as the following day Pei called one of the people who Guo convinced to call and harass her. Pei stated at the beginning of the call that she was recording the conversation, and she wanted the person on the other end to repeat what they had said the previous day. The person on the other end verified that a man had asked him to call Pei. He recited what may have been Guo’s phone number to her.
However, many of the posts took Guo’s side without hearing a word from him.