/When seemingly devoted husbands change into alleged intercourse criminals

When seemingly devoted husbands change into alleged intercourse criminals

In 2011, Ko Un, Korea’s most celebrated poet and a perennial Novel prize hopeful, revealed a group of poems.

Ko, 84, devoted the ebook “Poems for Sang Wha — Planetary Love” to his spouse, Lee Sang-wha, who was a Chung-Ang College professor on the time. The gathering consisted of some 120 poems — all that includes his love and appreciation for his spouse of 30 years.

“When revolving round my spouse, I shine,” mentioned one poem within the assortment. He additionally wrote within the ebook’s introduction, “I actually would not be alive proper now if I had by no means met my spouse,” calling her his saviour, his goddess.

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Some seven years have handed, and Ko is one in every of a number of high-profile figures who’ve been accused of sexual misconduct amid the quick unfold of the #MeToo motion within the nation.

The marketing campaign, initially launched to boost consciousness in regards to the widespread prevalence of sexual assault, is revealing the true colours of highly effective males who’ve been portraying themselves as doting fathers and constant husbands.

Behind closed doorways, it appears, they had been sexual predators.

Amid such revelations, Koreans are confronted with a query: What does it imply when the nation’s well-respected male figures — seemingly loving patriarchs — have been exploiting ladies outdoors the household?

Ko isn’t the one determine who has been publicly exhibiting affection for his spouse whereas allegedly abusing different ladies.


The previous governor of South Chungcheong Province, An Hee-jung, who has been accused of a number of rapes by two ladies, had repeatedly and publicly expressed his affection for his spouse, Min Joo-won. He had accomplished so whereas publicly endorsing feminism.

An Hee-jung (center), a former governor of South Chungcheong Province, has been accused of rape by two ladies who’ve labored for him prior to now.Picture: An Hee-jung’s Instagram

An shared on social media that he was studying books by feminist authors, together with Stephanie Staal, Rebecca Solnit and Jeong-hee-jin.

One of many the explanation why he was learning feminist texts was resulting from his spouse, as she had emotionally and financially supported him all through his reasonably turbulent political profession, he mentioned.

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An was imprisoned a variety of instances, as soon as over his pupil activism towards the authoritarian regime within the 1980s, and one other time for violating the Political Funds Act whereas working for the late President Roh Moo-hyun’s presidential marketing campaign in 2002.

He was once broadly tipped as one of many high candidates to be South Korea’s subsequent President.

“Joo-won is the person who I like essentially the most, a pal whom I spent and endured a few years with, and the mom of my two kids,” he mentioned on a TV programme final yr.

Now-disgraced former provincial governor An Hee-jung (proper) has posted an Instgram submit earlier this yr, with {a photograph} of him presenting a present to his spouse on March 14, referred to as White Day, an annual event the place males present ladies with sweet or different sweets. Picture: An Hee-jung’s Instagram

When Kim Ji-eun, his former secretary, publicly accused him of raping her 4 instances in the middle of some eight months, An initially responded by claiming that though he did have intercourse with Kim, it was consensual — that means it was extramarital intercourse, not a intercourse crime.

An finally retracted his preliminary assertion and apologised to Kim and the general public on his Fb web page. Many are nonetheless disturbed by his preliminary response to the allegation.

“It is turn out to be clear now that An had little interest in studying about what feminism actually is all about, and on the similar time, didn’t have any respect for his spouse,” mentioned Lim Ji-hyun, an workplace employee in her 20s in Seoul.

“He mainly used feminism for his personal political profession, and likewise used his personal spouse as some form of a self-promotion instrument just for his personal profit. He wished to look as this feminism-embracing, progressive politician who’s loyal to his spouse. We now know that every one of this has been a lie.”


Famed actors Cho Jae-hyun and Jo Min-ki, each accused of sexual assault, have appeared on actuality TV exhibits as doting fathers to their real-life daughters.

Actor Cho, who has usually collaborated with award-winning filmmaker Kim Ki-duk, is arguably dealing with a number of the most critical allegations by a variety of ladies.

S. Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-dukPicture: AFP

Most just lately, a former actress anonymously mentioned that she was raped by Cho and Kim whereas working collectively on a movie. On the time, she mentioned, forged and crew members lodged collectively, and Kim and Cho compelled their manner into her room and raped her.

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Nevertheless, in a TV programme referred to as “Take Care of My Dad,” the place Cho appeared along with his daughter in 2015, he introduced himself as a caring father, genuinely inquisitive about his daughter’s future and desires. Within the present, he wrote her a thoughtful hand-written letter and mentored her on her performing expertise and profession.

Cho’s daughter, Hye-jung, is an rising actress in her 20s. Sarcastically, lots of Cho’s alleged victims are actresses as nicely.

“Their behaviour jogs my memory of that of a psychopath,” mentioned Hahn Hyun-jin, a working mom residing in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province.

“The truth that they introduced themselves as perfect father and husband figures is proof that they clearly knew what that they had been doing to different ladies — the alleged victims — had been mistaken and legal actions,” she mentioned.

Some criticised An and filmmaker Kim for claiming that their relationships with the alleged victims had been consensual — that they cheated on their wives, however by no means abused different ladies.

“I have been concerned in sexual relationships (with different ladies), however they had been at all times consensual,” mentioned director Kim in response to the allegations. Like many of the accused males, the filmmaker is presently married. Like Cho, he has a daughter in her 20s.

“I really feel like that is their manner of getting away with issues — utilizing adultery as a strategy to justify their allegedly legal behaviours,” mentioned Park Ji-yeon, a working skilled in her 30s.

“By denying non-consensual intercourse as married, excessive profile male figures, they’re humiliating their wives on high of making an attempt to invalidate the alleged victims’ claims. I’m completely disgusted.”


Consultants say the accused males aren’t atypical amongst Korea’s middle-aged males.

“I feel they reasonably have that typical patriarchal mind-set on the subject of categorizing ladies,” mentioned Chung Hae-sook, a senior researcher at Korean Ladies’s Improvement Institute.

“For a lot of middle-aged males in Korea, all ladies belong to 2 classes. One is those that are, or are going to be, dutiful wives and moms. They’re usually described as nearly sacred beings, the ever-sacrificing moms. And the remaining are those that will be sexually exploited, who’re merely there to fulfill males’s sexual wants.”

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She mentioned that such methods of considering are mirrored within the parenting types of many Koreans. “Many dad and mom attempt to management the best way their daughters gown, make sure that they arrive residence earlier than it will get too darkish,” Chung advised The Korea Herald.

“On the similar time, when a girl is sexually assaulted, they’re fairly often blamed for what occurred. They’re blamed for ingesting an excessive amount of, or sporting one thing that is inappropriate. Many fathers right here strive very arduous in order that their daughters do not find yourself being ‘that’ woman. And clearly that is associated to how they and their male colleagues deal with ladies outdoors their household.”

Lee Sue-jung, a professor of criminological psychology at Kyonggi College, mentioned that among the many accused, former provincial Gov. An appears to have tendencies of histrionic character dysfunction — a situation characterised by a sample of extreme attention-seeking behaviour and a determined want for approval.

“Individuals with tendencies of this dysfunction are inclined to do nicely in politics, as a result of they know what to do as a way to seize consideration from lots of people. Additionally they have good social expertise, despite being manipulative,” Lee advised The Korea Herald.

“An knew speaking about feminism would acquire him extra supporters, however would flip to his different — or actual — self when he’s with folks that he does not have to please. Individuals like him are typically very selfish and narcissistic behind closed doorways. So it’s unlikely that his household life has been secure nor purposeful, opposite to what he has been exhibiting off all alongside. “

Lee additionally agreed with researcher Chung that the best way the accused males understand and deal with ladies isn’t uncommon by Korean requirements.

“Males of their 50s and 60s had fathers who had been allowed to have mistresses,” she mentioned.

“They grew up watching their fathers treating their wives and daughters as properties that wanted to be protected, whereas treating ladies outdoors their kinship buildings as non-humans. This notion continues to be shared by many males in Korean society, and it oppresses and exploits all ladies — as a result of one will be somebody’s daughter and a sufferer of sexual misconduct on the similar time.”


Statistics again up Chung and Lee’s factors.

A examine in 2016 confirmed that greater than half of married Korean males have had extramarital affairs at the very least as soon as of their lives. Males of their 50s, on common, had had extramarital affairs with 12.5 ladies.

On the similar time, the nation has the widest gender wage hole — 37 per cent — among the many 36 member states of the OECD, and ranks within the lowest tiers within the worldwide comparisons of total gender equality.

Single motherhood can be nonetheless closely stigmatised in South Korea.

This implies many ladies are sometimes compelled to be financially depending on their husbands, and unable to depart their husbands even within the case of infidelity of their spouses or home abuse.

In accordance with a report by Korea Ladies’s Scorching Line, solely 8.5 per cent of all home abuse circumstances get prosecuted in South Korea, whereas nearly 40 per cent of all legal circumstances get indicted.

On the similar time, the report confirmed, that 64.three per cent of all ladies who’ve been contaminated to STDs bought it from their male spouses. Solely 5 per cent of the Korean males mentioned they contracted STDs from their wives.

Lee Soo-yeon, a researcher at Korean Ladies’s Improvement Institute, mentioned whereas infidelity is a private alternative, you will need to word that it is extremely seemingly that many middle-aged males in Korea genuinely can not inform the distinction between intercourse crimes and romantic — and extramarital — relationships.

“Many males in energy do not realise that it is extremely troublesome for his or her subordinates to say no to them in a direct manner,” she advised The Korea Herald.

“For lots of them, you aren’t rejected (for intercourse) except the lady bodily resists. They do not perceive the definition of non-consensual intercourse.”

For others, it will not be in regards to the distinction between intercourse crimes and adultery.

On Wednesday, former lawmaker Jeon Yeo-ok launched a press release by which she mentioned that there are “many different An Hee-jungs” in Yeouido, the district the place the Nationwide Meeting is situated.

“There are lots of males in Yeouido who’ve accomplished issues which can be a lot worse than the allegation that has been made towards An,” she wrote.

“A few of them could also be making ready a line that claims ‘It wasn’t a intercourse crime however a case of sex-trade.'”