A young, Chinese, woman tennis player, Peng Shuai, had the audacity to name the man, 40 years her elder and a powerful political leader in China, as the one who, she alleges, sexually assaulted her. Since her public accusation, she “disappeared” and, under global pressure, has since been seen “in public” only once ~ on a video showing her doing just fine; happy as a lark; healthy as the world class athlete that she is. Peng Shuai is a Grand Slam Doubles Champ and three-time Olympian. Many people and organizations, eager not to disrupt the money and fame generated by the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, accepted the video at face value and said we should all just move on. Others said not so fast!
China might be thinking that all it needs is to stall a little longer and global apathy about a solitary, woman, sexual assault victim will prevail. All the victim needs, they might be waging a bet, is just a little more rehab, a bit more education and indoctrination that will culminate in ~ who knows ~ her meeting with her alleged perp to ask his forgiveness for her false accusations. All of this will be just in time for the Beijing Winter Olympics.
The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), however, is pulling out of China until Peng Shuai reappears and is free to interview, pursue her claims, and other things. This action will cost the WTA hundreds of millions of dollars generated by doing business in China. No other athletic association, so far, has followed the WTA’s lead.
I wrote to a young, adult man who called this action by the WTA “Very honorable, but it won’t happen. Look what the Chinese are getting away with in creating internment camps to “reeducate” over one million, Muslim Uyghurs ~ China’s largest minority. Many call it a genocide. Unfortunately, a tennis player is way down the list.”
“I implore you” I wrote back, “to not give up hope! All it takes for the world to go to hell is five good people to do nothing. You have a great, creative spirit and a fine mind. The world loves to turn people like you into cynics who bleed power and motivation. The world does so by feeding you the myth of futility. The WTA showed the world that they are willing to sacrifice deeply rather than tolerate this injustice to an alleged victim of sexual abuse. China is very angry at this continued public outing.”
I happen to believe in God ~ a God that cleans house. A God that needs our help. I believe in God, a God who blesses small people doing small acts to effect seemingly impossible change. The Hebrew and Christian Biblical stories (some of which are shared in the Qur’an) of water coming out of a rock; of finding a way out of no way out; of walking on water; of raising people from the dead ~ are still being told simple because there is truth in them and because they offer people hope that “We shall overcome… someday.”
Until then, we speak truth to power. We brush our teeth, wash our face, and carry on. We pray, contemplate, meditate, advocate, protest, detest, confess ~ or any combination of these and others that keep us trudging along on the road to justice. May God, Higher Power, Allah, Yahweh, Mother Nature, Tao, Karma, Jesus, Jehovah, Universal Human Rights, our ancestors, mercy, destiny, and desire for rightfulness be our guides. And may the God of my understanding bless the Women’s Tennis Association.
Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter