Sexual harassment and sexual assault happen on a daily basis, but the punishment for these crimes is still lenient. The severity of punishment for these crimes should be increased, but this has yet to become a reality. According to a tally of 1,700 sexual offenders, only 52% were on probation.This article compares the level of punishment in domestic and foreign sexual harassment and sexual assault cases, and presents examples of how other countries prevent sexual violence.
On October 12, the Changwon District Court sentenced a Gimhae doctor working at an obstetrics and gynecology clinic to one year in prison for sexually assaulting a female patient. He was ordered to take 40 hours of a sexual violence prevention program, and was restricted from employment in institutions that work with children or the disabled. In May of last year, the doctor assaulted a patient’s vagina three times while the patient was lying in a bed waiting to receive treatment. Having already violated his duty to protect the patient, he also denied the crime which further traumatised the victim.
Cho Doo-soon, who raped an 8-year-old girl in Ansan, in December 2008, will be released from prison in December this year. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison because he was judged as mentally and physically weak due to drinking despite his cruel crime. Twelve years have passed since the terrible incident occurred, but people are still afraid that violent crimes such as these will reoccur. As a result, Ansan city is preparing measures to prepare for sexual predators like Cho Doo-soon, such as hiring six additional officials and patrolling dangerous areas 24 hours a day. The prosecution said that Cho Doo-soon will not be allowed to go out or drink late at night after being released from prison, and will be tracked through an electronic anklet. However, Cho Doo-soon's crime was committed during the day, and it is difficult to prevent a repeat offense. Anxiety-stricken people argue that the death penalty should be revived for such violent crimes.
Sexual harassment and sexual assault perpetrators are becoming more organized and more dangerous than in the past, as seen in the Nth Room incident. It is more necessary than ever to enforce the law and enact strong punishments. As you can see in the chart below, comparing the punishment of sexual harassment and sexual assault in Korea and the United States, it shows that the sentences for similar crimes in Korea are shorter than those in the United States. Some countries prevent crimes of sexual violence by implenting strong penalties. In 2009, a Texan court in the U.S. court sentenced a criminal to 4060 years in jail for sexually assaulting teenage girls. Kaduna, Nigeria, in Africa, is implementing a law that allows the physical castration and execution of child rapists. In order to prevent sexual crimes and other violent crimes, more attention should be paid to preventing these crimes from ever happening as opposed to focusing on what happens after punishment. Korea should try to prevent sexually violent crimes by passing a law that would sentence perpetrators of sexual violence more harshly.
|▲Comparison of sex crime punishment in Korea and the United States|
European countries conduct systematic sex education from an early age. Sweden provides sex education to students by age group in schools, and students learn about contraception when they enter middle school. Condoms are distributed free of charge by schools and are easily available to students. In Denmark, sex education is so straightforward and pragmatic. There are picture books published with realistic descriptions of love between consenting adults to pregnancy and birth. Korea is conservative about sex, by comparison. Although students learn about the bodies of men and women, sexual harassment and contraception, detailed and accurate information is hard to come by. For this reason, children who have learned about sex through the internet may be unaware of important facts, or believe in falsehoods. It is not wrong to learn about sex from an early age. Rather, it is necessary to provide systematic sex education at school and home so that students can grow into adults with well-informed sexual awareness as they grow up.
By Bae Yun-bin, reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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