Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bent Fact: "Broken Shoe"

The Original Story:
One "evidence" that Fu Ping knew she was raped was that she was called a "broken shoe" after the attack. On Page 77 of Bend, Not Break:
After that day, Zhang spread word that I had a new nickname, "broken shoe" -- a shameful, denigrating expression implying that you are so worn down from overuse that you're no longer worth a penny. 
At age ten, I was a ruined woman.
Shortly after, on Page 79:
I had discovered that "broken shoe" was a label customarily given to prostitutes and promiscuous women. Teasing me with it seemed to be some children's favorite form of entertainment.
Then, two years later, enter the mysterious "Uncle W" on Page 89:
Uncle W's eyes searched my face as I spoke, as if he were looking for clues to my true identity. He asked a few questions, but delicately, so that they never felt intrusive. He was the first one to tell me that I had been raped -- and to explain what "broken shoes" really meant. He told me with a compassionate yet firm voice that it wasn't my fault.
The Debunking:
This timeline does not make any sense at all.

She had already figured out what "broken shoe" means shortly after the attack, how could Uncle W would be the first one to explain its meaning? Unless Uncle W provided a different version from her previous understanding. The last paragraph seems to indicate just that. Somehow Uncle W interpreted "broken shoe" as referring to a rape victim, thus he had to add that it wasn't her fault.

What was on Page 79 is the correct meaning of "broken shoe," which had nothing to do with being raped. Uncle W was wrong, and very strangely so.

While "broken shoe" was a fairly common insult in China, the only time it applies to kids as young as Fu Ping was at the time would be a prank among their peers, either as teasing or mean-spirited curse. But for kids using this term, they were just using it as a generic insult, not in its literal meaning. Fu Ping may have been called "broken shoe," but it would have very little to do with whether she had been a victim of rape.


  1. According to "Drifting Bottle", what she did in America with all those men was more like a so called "broken shoe"!!!

  2. "Broken shoe" means ”slut”, period!

  3. The insensitive manner in which you discuss her rape is despicable. She didn't realize she was raped until "Uncle W" informed her because she was ignorant about sexuality. Is sexual intercourse openly discussed in Chinese culture? No, I didn't think so. Add to this the fact that she had been separated from her parents and received no formal education. She didn't understand what happened to her. That doesn't negate the fact that it did happen. Being nicknamed "Broken Shoe" by her peers supports the notion that the rape did occur. It also reflects the deep insensitivity and double standard regarding this violation. Sadly, this insensitivity is not unique to the Chinese culture, but you embarrass yourself and your culture by sustaining this callous attitude. Further, the fact that you are so hellbent on invalidating Ping Fu that you would challenge her rape story reveals your own suspect motives.