A Guizhou man has been given a suspended sentence after raping his ex-wife twice.

The man, surnamed Gou, and his ex-wife divorced in February, according to local paper the Guiyang Evening News, but she was still living with him temporarily in order to take care of their two young children.

Gou raped his ex-wife on the early morning of March 2, after they got into an argument about the children’s living expenses. In the afternoon of the same day, she tried to go to the village to get help, but Gou stopped her from leaving the house.

meitan people's court
The Meitan County People’s Court. Photo: Baidu Baike.

She tried to escape through the window, but was stopped by Gou. She then tried to commit suicide by lighting a towel on fire. Gou stopped her and proceeded to rape her again.

Gou was found guilty of rape by the Meitan County Court and given a three-year sentence, suspended for four years, meaning he will be released, but could be imprisoned again if he breaks the law within that period.

It said it made its decision because Gou showed signs of repentance, and that it was his first offence. Additionally, he turned himself in, and had obtained his wife’s forgiveness. It also considered that Gou was the only force of labour in the family, and that the pair still needed to support their two young children.

china domestic violence
An ad campaign by UN Women with NetEase News. Photo: Big5China.com.

Official surveys show that between 25-40 per cent of women in China have experienced domestic violence. But because it is generally still seen as a private family matter, many victims are reluctant to report domestic violence.

China adopted its first anti-domestic violence law in March 2016. But it has been criticised for not going far enough to protect victims, since it does not cover marital rape, sexual violence and economic control. It also does not apply to divorced couples or former partners.

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.