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Assault on the iceWill the Korean sports world be safe?
한승희 기자 | 승인 2019.03.07 |(0호)
▲Shim Suk-hee, a member of the national team/ Source: WWW.SPORTSCHOSUN.COM

About a year ago, February 9, 2018  the Pyeong-Chang Winter Olympics was held. It will remain a historic event in Korean sports. The competition was a success. The Korean squad finished seventh overall with five gold medals. However, one year after the Pyeong-chang Winter Olympics, the future of Korea's winter sports is not bright. Criticism of some of the women's long-distance speed skating teams caused issue about happening during the Pyeong-chang Olympics because there was a bullying incident between them. Also, suspicions of assault by a male athlete have arisen, and the Korean curling team, which gained huge popularity through the Pyeong-chang Olympics is also revealing the inside of Korean sports. One of the most recent issues is the sexual assault of Shim Seok-hee.

Currently, Shim Seok-hee is an influential athlete in the Korean skating world. Shim Seok-hee caused controversy such as leaving the team, saying that she was beaten by coach Cho Jae-beom even before the Pyeong-chang Olympics. A year later, Cho Jae-beom was sentenced to one and 18months in prison until the appeals court. But the case didn't stop here. Recently, Shim Seok-hee revealed that she was sexually assaulted as well as physically assaulted by coach Cho Jae-beom. Shim Seok-hee revealed that she had been sexually assaulted since her second year in high school, and the number of sexual assaults specifically stated in the lawsuit were 10 cases. Sim Seok-hee also said, "coach Cho Jae-beom, who has been coaching her since elementary school, habitually assaulted her and demanded absolute obedience. And by continuing to threaten her, Cho Jae-beom was able to hide the damage." Shim Seok-hee said, “The reason why I confess to sexual assault now is because I don't want to see any more victims.”
 
On February 7, Gyeong-gi Province's southern police agency handed over Cho Jace-beom to the Su-won District Public Prosecutors' Office on charges of violating the law on sexual protection of children and teenagers. Coach Cho Jae-beom was sentenced to 18months in prison in the second trial on January 30 on harges of repeated assault, but the ruling did not address the charges of sexual assault. If the charges are acknowledged, Cho is likely to face more than 10 years in prison, much heavier than his previous prison term of 18months.
 
The South Korean government has decided to toughen up punishment for sex offenders in the sports community. At the same time, the scope of sexual violence resulting in permanent expulsion will be expanded, and regulations on sports organizations will be revised to disciplinary information sharing on sexual violence, which will intensify disciplinary action in domestic and foreign sports organizations. According to the Korea Sports Council regulations, the government is required to permanently ban people who not only commit sexual assaults that are equivalent to rape, but also ‘simple sexual harassment’ will be subject to permanent ban.
 
 Many people's attention and efforts are needed so that punishment and measures prepared by the government will no longer be needed at Korean Sports Festivals.
 

한승희 기자  hansh18@kunsan.ac.kr

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