As many movements defying sexual harassment have been rising over the past year, like #MeToo and #TimesUp, South Korea’s women fight their own battle against violations of privacy and consent in the largest women’s protest in South Korean history.
On June 9, over 12,000 protestors gathered in the streets of Seoul to demand its police properly investigate digital sex crimes involving hidden spy cameras placed around South Korea. The epidemic is known by Koreans as molka.
In 2016, there were almost 5,200 harassment cases involving spycam footage — 80% of victims of were women — and 7,300 requests to remove illegally uploaded revenge porn in Korea.
Additionally, in 2015, 24.9 percent of sex crimes in the country involved cameras. Pictures and videos that were taken without consent from secret spy cams in public places have been uploaded to pornography sites. Secret cameras are being placed in women’s public bathrooms, changing rooms, and even women’s homes.
This issue has become so common in the nation to the point that women wear masks to cover their faces for fear of being recorded in public. Women are not only being sexualized, which is bad enough, but they are being sexualized during simplest day-to-day activities, like using the bathroom or trying on clothes.
On June 9, over 12,000 protestors gathered in the streets of Seoul to demand its police properly investigate digital sex crimes involving hidden spy cameras placed around South Korea. The epidemic is known by Koreans as molka. tweet
South Korean police reportedly would rush through the women’s cases, and prove the suspects innocence without further investigation. The police would actually blame victims for not “dressing modestly,” and would claim that catching the culprit is too difficult.
Ironically, what kicked off the women’s protest was the arrest of a female model for allegedly photographing a male student posing for a university fine arts course without his consent, and uploading the content. The police were quick to react — they solved the case in under a week.
Women were surprised to see such an efficient investigation; one demonstrator said, “Just because the victim is a man and the suspect is a woman this time, the country is investigating the case differently.”
According to a study conducted by Womenlink, 93 percent of Korean women think that their country is sexist toward women, which adds to the injustice many Korean women are facing from the government itself (including the police).
The police would actually blame [women] victims for not “dressing modestly,” and would claim that catching the culprit is too difficult. tweet
In response to the lack of equality in sex crime investigations, over 400,000 people signed a petition to the presidential Blue House demanding equal justice, claiming that female victims are treated unfairly. The citizens do not think that the government is taking the necessary actions to prevent these sex crimes; additionally, those proven guilty are merely fined for their crimes.
The problem is so widespread that there is an entire industry for “digital laundry porn,” in which women employ companies to find and remove their content from the internet. Companies like Santa Cruise are now thriving with a new client emerging — women with private sex videos posted online by ex-boyfriends, ex-husbands, or even acquaintances. These companies monitor various porn networks to find their client’s content, costing clients two million won (US$1,750) a month, which is almost two-thirds of the country’s average wage.
This whole epidemic proves that not only do men continue to sexually harass women in public and in private, but there is no equality in fighting sex crimes. It is assumed that supposedly righteous entities like governments fight for equality, but that is not the case. While there’s no denying that men also get sexually harassed, everyone all over the world should continue fighting the battle of equality in conviction, ultimately reaching a world where everybody believes that sexual harassment and creating businesses that profit from the crimes are simply unacceptable and inhumane.