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Big Issues in Korea, the Me Too Movement
안혜원 수습기자 | 승인 2018.04.04 |(510호)
▲The Me Too movement / 출처 : Google

                                                            

 Recently, there has been a boom in the Me Too movement in South Korea due to problems related to sexual harassment and sexual violence. As this movement takes place, it has now become a major social issue in the nation. Let's take a closer look at the movement in many ways, both what it is and how it began.


 So, what is the Me Too movement? It is a campaign involving the posting of a hashtag titled "Me Too" on social networking sites (#Me Too). The hashtag is used to reveal the seriousness of the sex crimes one has experienced. The start of the Me Too movement originated from a black female social activist named Tarana Burke, and after the sexual harassment scandal surrounding Hollywood's famous film-maker Harvey Weinstein in the United States, the movie star Alisa Milano highlighted this issue on October 15, 2017, and the movement was popularized. If people who have been sexually assaulted say "I am a victim. (Me Too)" they can raise awareness of how many victims there are. There are many implications here. 'I have also experienced bad things like you,' 'I sympathize with the shame and despair you feel,' and 'I am also involved in sharing your sorrow and suffering.' In the 24 hours since Alisa Milano encouraged the Me Too movement, more than half a million people supported her on Twitter, and more than 80,000 people have used the #Me Too hashtag to bring attention to rape and sexual harassment experiences. The Me Too movement has brought about the 'With You' campaign, which involves posting the hashtag '#With You' on SNS. This hashtag is used to express support for the victims of sexual violence.


 In Korea, the Me Too Movement started when Seo Ji-Hyun, a prosecutor, revealed the sexual harassment behavior of Ahn Tae-Keun, a former director of the Justice Department, in January 2018 through the JTBC News network. And this movement, which started in the legal profession, created a stir when it spread to culture, art and politics, including the culture and theater industries. Let me take a look at some of the recent domestic issues.


 First is the issue involving Lee Yoon-Taek. He is known as the master of theater in Kore-Kim SooHee, the director of a theatrical company, participated in the Me Too movement through her SNS accounts and informed followers that Lee Yun-Taek had raped her. Actor Kim Ja-Hyun also joined the campaign and said, “In ‘Hwangtobang’, the female members took turns giving him a massage every night, and I was with them. His behavior got worse and worse, and eventually I was raped when I massaged him alone.” She also revealed that he had done something harmful, such as getting her pregnant, she had an abortion and was then sexually assaulted by him again. Now, the police have said that they have applied for arrest warrants for Lee Yoon-Taek relating to charges of sexual harassment of 17 females from 1999 to June 2016.


 The next issue involves Ko Eun, a poet talented enough to be nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature. The scandal started with a revelation by poet Choi Young-Mi. It is because the main character of her poem titled "Monster" was revealed to be Ko Eun. That poem said, 'Don't sit next to Mr. En ....... (Ellipsis). He always touches a young woman's body.' The poet Park Jin-Sung also joined the campaign, and revealed that Ko Eun has sexually assaulted other women. Thus, Ko Eun has lost various positions, and his works are now missing from textbooks for middle and high school students.
 

 Lastly, I will discuss the actor Cho Min-Ki. He was accused of indecently assaulting his students while serving in the Department of Drama at Cheongju University. And an actor, who was a student of his, specified the circumstances of a sexual harassment incident. Song Ha-Neul, a drama actor who graduated from the Department of Drama at Cheongju University, made an announcement through her SNS account, and she said, "I have suffered from sexual harassment since 2013," and "Upon entering the school, senior members said, 'Be careful of Professor Cho Min-Ki,' " "Professor Cho Min-Ki invites students to his apartment every time he comes here for class." Also, she revealed that on the day he invited her to his apartment, he asked her about her sexual experiences with her boyfriend. She continued, "He called me to his bedside and touched my chest." In addition, she said he used to sexually harass her repeatedly. Following this revelation, he committed suicide.
 

 This movement has its strengths, but there will also certainly be disadvantages. The biggest advantage of the Me Too movement, as everyone knows, is that it is a courageous way to address unfair treatment that could not be revealed until now. This is a very good function, because weak people who were afraid of being disadvantaged are now united in eradicating such behaviors. This will lead society in the right direction. However, there is a risk that can be exploited. Telling a lie can result in somebody being socially rebuked. In today's anonymous society, there is also a high risk of someone anonymously writing negative articles about an innocent person. In fact, some cases have actually been found to be false during the Me Too movement.

 In order to prevent this wrongdoing, it is necessary to actively enhance citizen‘s awareness. One should refrain from making irresponsible comments while hiding behind anonymity. Because of these problems, some people have been framed. It is a matter of losing one's lifelong career and reputation if branded a sex offender unfairly. Thus, some people even argue that the government should strengthen the punishment for cases of libel and false accusation. And it is imperative to provide preventive education regarding sex crimes. It is hoped that the spread of the Me Too movement will wipe out all sex crimes in our society, but no secondary damage should unjustly result.

안혜원 수습기자  hyewon16@hwangryong.com

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