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UNDP Seoul shares Korean initiatives to tackle Gender-based Violence Updated: 2017-04-20 19:49:30 KST

For more than 8 years, 20 year-old Moon was sexually abused in the place that she called home.

"It was my half brother. It started when I was about eight. He would do it intermittently-- once every two years or so-- just when I thought it wouldn't happen again. I wasn't ever going to tell anyone."

But in her senior year of high school, she confessed everything to her sister after an upsetting encounter with the abuser.
Moon, then, turned to a local support center for women and children who have been abused.

"Talking to my counselor gave me the courage to report the abuse and leave home. That hadn't been an option before but the center helped me get financial support for living expenses and college tuition."

Now a college undergraduate, Moon says she's seeing steady recovery thanks to regular counseling sessions.

There are 37 Sunflower Centers for victims of violence in Korea and 13 of them provide a "one-stop support system" around the clock, all year round.
Once the abuse is reported, the victim undergoes an immediate physical examination at the clinic within the center.
Physical evidence is collected for investigation and starting with the victim's testimony, a case is opened by a designated inspector.
The center also offers legal assistance, and therapeutic counseling for the victim.

"We offer these services under a single roof so the victims can feel safe and needn't repeat their story over and over."

First launched by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family in ----, the centers' comprehensive support system was shared at a forum held on Thursday by the UN Development Programme Seoul Policy Centre.
Experts from 12 countries gathered to discuss how to root out gender-based violence,ranging from rape and domestic violence to sex trafficking and genital mutilation, affecting one in three women around the world.

"It has to do with mindset, it has to do with patriarchal norms. So it's not something that can be easily tackled. But it doesn't mean it shouldn't be. Half the population is female. You have to do something to protect their rights and their capabilities."

The experts discussed various policies and legal frameworks designed for prevention in Korea.

"Seoul has set up safe living environments and services which take into account the lifestyles of the women in our city-- for instance, escorting them home late at night and even a women-friendly delivery system."

Korea's active civic community was also seen as playing a key role.

"The most important thing is a well-balanced women's movement and Korea has that. It has been demonstrated by a number of prominent women activities promoting gender equality and human rights."

Through active policy sharing, the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre hopes to highlight more of Korea's initiatives to protect the health and safety, dignity and liberty of women everywhere.
Oh Soo-young, Arirang News.
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