High School Girl Committed Suicide for Sexual Harassment

High school girl committed suicide

“Thank you, brother. I’m leaving.” 19 years old Li Yiyi smiled at the firefighter who came to rescue. Then she let go of his hand and jumped off the eighth floor of a mall building. This high school girl committed suicide for sexually harassed by her teacher.

Fire fighter caught the girl for a moment

Fire fighter caught the girl for a moment

Her young life faded away when her body touched the ground. Like a mad show, what waiting for her were not crying and screaming, but laughing, shouting and clapping. In the meantime, a young firefighter lying on the windowsill where Li Yiyi just fell off, he was crying for not being able to save her.

It wasn’t solely a story about a girl who committed suicide. There were hundreds, maybe thousands of hands on her back, pushing her off the rim.

High School Girl Committed Suicide – A School Sexual Harassment Victim

In the last two years of Li Yiyi’s life, she has suffered from severe depression and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). She had already attempted suicide four times by taking overdose antidepressants and trying to jump off from one of the school buildings. For the very last time, she chose to climb up to the top of a shopping mall. This time, the firefighter who saved her last time failed to take her back to the ground.

Two years ago, Li Yiyi was still a 10th-grade student in the Sixth High School of Qingyang, Gansu Province. On September 5th, 2016, Li Yiyi felt a bad pain in her stomach and she had to be excused from school to go to the doctor. After the doctor gave her a shot and some painkiller, she was sent back to her dormitory to rest by another two classmates. However, something happened afterward had dramatically changed her life.

In a long letter Li Yiyi wrote to the People’s Court of Qingyang, she recorded every detail about her being sexually harassed by her teacher, Wu Yonghou. According to the letter, Wu Yonghou had harassed Li Yiyi more than once. “Wu Yonghou touched my face when I met him in his office during summer school. I was so scared that he might be doing it again to me.”

Two months later, Li Yiyi’s nightmare became the reality. On September 5th, after Li Yiyi was sent back to the dormitory after visiting the doctor for a stomach ache, her teacher Wu Yonghou visited her to “check in if she was okay”. Li Yiyi wrote it in the long letter, “Around 8 p.m. of that day, the power of the school got cut off. About half an hour after that happened, Wu Yonghou came over. Even the stomach made me feel exhausted, I still struggled to sit up to show my respect for him. It was dark in the room because of the blackout. He sat on my bed and asked me how I felt. I told him that I felt better already. After a short period of silence, he touched my face all of a sudden and followed by some other inappropriate behaviors. He held me so tight like a madman. I was so scared that I can’t move. Then he started kissing my face and biting my ears, and he cracked open my clothes from the back. I freaked out.” Li Yiyi said that she used to think that she could go to her dream college and have a bright future, but at that moment, “everything was gone.” “I felt endless darkness around me, as well as fear, shame, and nausea.” “When I felt that my whole life was going to be destroyed, I heard someone knocking on the door. That was why Wu Yonghou finally released me and left.”

Bystanders pushing her to jump on social media

Bystanders pushing her to jump on social media

The next day, Li Yiyi decided to talk to the school’s mental health counselor. After listening to Li Yiyi’s story, the school mental health counselor told her that “it was out of her control” and suggested Li Yiyi talk to the grade director, Mr. Duan. Li Yiyi wrote in her letter, “I thought Director Duan would bring justice to me. He told me that it was a wise decision to talk to the school teachers first instead of my father. He agreed to report the teacher who harassed me until I told him that Wu Yonghou was the man. The director told me that he couldn’t do anything for Wu Yonghou because he was an important teacher in my school. The best he could do was asking Wu Yonghou to apologize to me privately. I don’t want an apology. I want justice.”

Even the school teachers told Li Yiyi that they were “appreciated” for her not telling her parents about the harassment. However, the attitude of Wu pretending to act innocent still made Li Yiyi feel “angry and disgusted”. Li Yiyi said that she had trouble sleeping and eating because she can’t really get rid of the nightmares of what happened to her. She told her father what happened and was sent to the hospital.

Li Yiyi then was diagnosed with depression and PTSD. Even with the antidepressants and sleeping pills, she could barely have a normal sleeping night. According to her letter, Li Yiyi had to constantly take days off school to recover. However, she was still told that she should have “let it go” and “not mess with school”.

Li Yiyi wrote in her letter, “Everyone was saying that I was making a big fuss over a small issue. Why would I be questioned and blamed for someone else’s mistake?”

Four Times Attempting Suicide

Suffering severe depression, Li Yiyi had attempted suicide four times.

Based on the police notification, Li Yiyi attempted suicide twice by taking a large dose of antidepressant in the year 2016. In the year 2017, she attempted jumping off the school building of No.6 Highschool of Qingyang. The local firefighter squad successfully rescued her. This year, Li Yiyi took a large dose of antidepressant again to attempt suicide.

On June 11th, 2018, Li Yiyi started a part-time job in the Lijing Shopping Mall of Qingyang City. After 9 days, at 3 p.m. of June 20th, Li Yiyi climbed out one of the windows on the 8th floor.

“Quietly I am leaving, just as quietly as I came; Gently waving my sleeve, I am not taking away a single cloud. Everything is over.” Quoted the well-known Chinese poem written by Xu Zhimo, Li Yiyi posted the last Wechat Moment entry of her life.

The police and firefighter squad arrived at the scene shortly after they received the call which reported someone was attempting suicide. However, the bystanders were always one step earlier than the people who came to rescue.

“Suicide show again?” Someone in the bystanders asked. Instead of trying to stop Li Yiyi, they took out their cell phones, taking pictures and videos, uploading to their social media accounts.

While the firefighters and psychological counselor trying to calm the girl down to save her life, there were more and more people joining the bystander crowd. They started yelling at her:

“Why don’t you jump?” “Come on, jump!” “What are you waiting for? Don’t be a coward!”

The incident also drew lots of attention on the internet. “Finally, someone is jumping off the building to kill herself for real. Do it quickly and save some trouble for the police officers.” Someone posted it on Wechat Moment along with a video of Li Yiyi sitting on the windowsill. “I have been waiting for you to jump for almost an hour. It’s so hot here. Just jump off the building and everything will be fine after that…” “Jump quickly. I need to pick up my kids after watching your suicide.”

Some bystanders thought Li Yiyi was one of those people who put on a “suicide show” to draw attention. “The girls nowadays will do anything to gain attention on the internet.” They said. Someone even started to live stream the suicide scene to “help her be an internet hot topic”. On live stream platform Kuaishou, more than a dozen users were live streaming Li Yiyi committing suicide.

Li Yiyi's funeral

Li Yiyi’s funeral

Maybe the pain Li Yiyi had been suffered was too strong. Or maybe all the “encouragements” from the bystanders took away the last piece of her hope. After sitting on the window for four hours, she let go the hand of the firefighter, who was also the one rescued her in one of the suicide attempts and fell off the building.

“Thank you, brother. I’m leaving.” Li Yiyi smiled at the person who cared about her at the very last.

Li Yiyi died immediately after the fall. Witnessed what they had been waiting for, people in the crowd started to laugh, whistle and applaud.

Upon the building, a firefighter was crying for not being able to save a young life.

The Justice is Always Late, Would It Be Absent This Time?

In the long letter Li Yiyi wrote the People’s Court of Qingyang City, she said, “I don’t want an apology. I want justice.”

But she failed to witness the day of justice getting done. On February 26th, 2017, Li Yiyi had gone to the local public security bureau to report the case with her father. After the investigation, Wu Yonghou was administratively detained for 10 days according to the law for “indecent behavior”.

During the time, Li Yiyi’s father believed that the punishment was improper. He went to the Xifeng District People’s Procuratorate to appeal. After reviewing the case file, the district procuratorate thought that Wu’s behavior was suspected of committing a crime and notified the local public security bureau to file a case for investigation. The bureau filed the criminal case on August 10, 2017.
On August 25, Wu Yonghou took the guarantor pending trial. On November 20, after the investigation ended, he was transferred to the district procuratorate. After the district procuratorate examined, it decided not to prosecute on March 1 this year.

Li Yiyi’s father then went to the People’s Procuratorate of Qingyang City to appeal. On May 18, the Municipal Procuratorate maintained the decision of the Xifeng District Procuratorate not to prosecute.

In the Reasons of Non-prosecution Statement given by Xifeng District People’s Procuratorate, it said there was no effective evidence for Wu Yonghou sexually harassing Li Yiyi in the school dormitory.

Wu Yonghou defended his behavior of “kissing victim’s face” as “testing her body temperature to see if she had a fever”. The procuratorate agreed that the behavior of an adult male teacher testing a female student’s body temperature with his lips was unreasonable. But they also decided that it was a minor misconduct.

Also, the statement declared that, after asking the relevant medical staff, there was no obvious evidence showing that Li Yiyi’s depression and PTSD were caused by Wu Yonghou’s behavior.

Wu Yonghou pushed a young life to death with his hands and destroyed a happy family. And all the punishment he got out of it was staying in the jail for ten days!

After Li Yiyi committed suicide, the law enforcement agents restarted the investigation of Li Yiyi being sexually harassed by Wu Yonghou. Currently, Wu Yonghou’s teaching certificate has been suspended and he was transferred from the teaching position. Two bystanders who hindered the rescue were arrested for the offense of blocking the execution of duties.

The polices also identified 6 internet users who malicious abused Li Yiyi online. The public security department will investigate the six people and deal with them seriously according to law.

Many netizens questioned that even Li Yiyi had attempted suicide four times, the procuratorate maintained its non-prosecution decision. Until Li Yiyi passed away, the teacher who harassed her was just taken away from the post. “The cost for people to aware the harmfulness of sexual harassments happening in school was too high. It shouldn’t have cost a young girl’s life.”

The crimes of sexual assaults may not appear to be “serious” under the rules of the law, but they may indeed cause serious physical and psychological harm to minors and lead them to suicide.

There is still a long way to go to improve and perfect the school education system, judicial policy, psychological intervention, and sex education for minors. People should not wait until the tragedies like Li Yiyi’s story happen.

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