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MeToo movement reshaping roots of Korean society Updated: 2018-03-08 18:10:07 KST

"It all began when a female prosecutor revealed her experience of being sexually harassed by her senior within the prosecution. And now, a month into the movement, a flood of 'MeToo' accusations is continuing to spread from industry to industry. Social changes appear to be underway in Korea, and people are hoping for a permanent transformation."

In the past, when Korean women spoke out about their experiences, they often faced a harsh backlash despite them being the victims.
The male perpetrators, on the other hand, were rarely punished and their crimes were swept under the carpet -- meaning women felt unable to let their voices be heard.
But the MeToo movement has paved the way for women to boldly discuss their experiences.

"There have been many revelations of sexual violence before. But unlike the past, the public is generally much more sympathetic to the victims. People also recognize that it's not just a problem within a certain organization or industry-- but society as a whole."

But most agree that there's still a long way to go before the deep-rooted culture of sexual violence in Korea is eradicated.

"Although a lot of women have come forward, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The movement is still concentrated around people and industries well-known to the public. More women are suffering in far more serious environments, and the movement needs to spread to those areas as well."

Experts believe fundamental and systematic change requires a shift in perception, that they say is best achieved through education.
In a legal-sense as well, change is necessary.

"The law needs to be revised as it currently requires victims to prove they were sexually assaulted before they can take the case forward. They are asked why they didn't resist at the time, when it's difficult to do so, due to men's power or influence. Because of that, predators rarely end up being punished."

The MeToo movement is viewed as a significant phenomenon that's smashing barriers in Korea's patriarchal society.
However, for the MeToo movement to take a big step forward, experts say it's important to carry on the momentum and give women more confidence to let their voices be heard, so the issue doesn't fizzle out in a few months.
Park Hee-jun, Arirang News.
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