A Chinese court has awarded a woman $5,000 after she claims she lost her virginity to a man who promised to marry her only to find that the man was already married.
The woman, whose last name is Chen, met the man, last name Li, online in 2009, but the two started dating later in 2013. They travelled to Singapore where they "consummated" the relationship, but afterwards, Li suddenly dropped contact with Chen. Chen confronted him, discovering he had a wife. So she did the only reasonable thing—she sued him, demanding over $81,000 in psychological damages, plus medical costs. Via The Guardian:
The court found the original demand excessive, but said in its ruling that the right to virginity should be protected by law as it was a moral right related to "sexual freedom, sexual safety and sexual purity".
"Violating the right to virginity might lead to harm to a person's body, health, freedom and reputation … it ought to be compensated," the court said, though it did not explain how it reached the precise figure.
Li, who was not present in court, denies he had sex with Chen and is appealing the decision.
But can we talk about this concept of sexual purity as a moral right? The idea of reputation and purity (the idea that a woman cannot be open about sexual self and yet her 'reputation' is an open book) and monetary value creeps me out personally, but clearly there is a huge cultural context to which I am not attuned. (People in India have argued that if a man tricks a woman into having consensual sex with the promise of marriage and then doesn't marry her, it could be considered rape.) I suppose with that in mind, making sure you are compensated for something so highly valued and assuming agency in regard to your reputation is a smart move.
I mean, more than anything I am very interested in how the court decided that the woman's virginity — or at least the moral right to virginity — is worth $5000. Does that value change depending on the woman or how sexually experienced she is (aside from intercourse obviously)? Are men entitled to the same rights?
Image via Shutterstock.