In 2011, Ko Un, Korea’s most celebrated poet and a perennial Novel prize hopeful, revealed a set of poems.
Ko, 84, devoted the guide “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 guide’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.
Some seven years have handed, and Ko is certainly one 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 lift 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 dependable 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 girls outdoors the household?
Ko shouldn’t be the one determine who has been publicly displaying affection for his spouse whereas allegedly abusing different girls.
DISGRACED EX-GOVERNOR: ‘FEMINISM-EMBRACING, LOVING HUSBAND’
The previous governor of South Chungcheong Province, An Hee-jung, who has been accused of a number of rapes by two girls, had repeatedly and publicly expressed his affection for his spouse, Min Joo-won. He had executed so whereas publicly endorsing feminism.
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 reason why he was finding out feminist texts was because of his spouse, as she had emotionally and financially supported him all through his fairly turbulent political profession, he mentioned.
An was imprisoned quite a lot of occasions, as soon as over his scholar activism in opposition to 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 extensively tipped as one of many prime candidates to be South Korea’s subsequent President.
“Joo-won is the individual that I like probably the most, a pal whom I spent and endured a few years with, and the mom of my two youngsters,” he mentioned on a TV programme final yr.
When Kim Ji-eun, his former secretary, publicly accused him of raping her 4 occasions 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 grow to be clear now that An had no real 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 in addition used his personal spouse as some type of a self-promotion software just for his personal profit. He wished to seem 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 FILMMAKER AND ACTOR: FATHERS TURN OUT TO BE ACCUSED RAPISTS
Famed actors Cho Jae-hyun and Jo Min-ki, each accused of sexual assault, have appeared on actuality TV reveals 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 among the most severe allegations by quite a lot of girls.
Most not too long ago, a former actress anonymously mentioned that she was raped by Cho and Kim whereas working collectively on a movie. On the time, she mentioned, solid and crew members lodged collectively, and Kim and Cho pressured their means into her room and raped her.
Nonetheless, in a TV programme known as “Take Care of My Dad,” the place Cho appeared along with his daughter in 2015, he introduced himself as a caring father, genuinely desirous about his daughter’s future and wishes. Within the present, he wrote her a thoughtful hand-written letter and mentored her on her appearing abilities and profession.
Cho’s daughter, Hye-jung, is an rising actress in her 20s. Mockingly, 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 dwelling in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province.
“The truth that they introduced themselves as ideally suited father and husband figures is proof that they clearly knew what they’d been doing to different girls — the alleged victims — had been unsuitable and felony 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 girls.
“I have been concerned in sexual relationships (with different girls), however they had been at all times consensual,” mentioned director Kim in response to the allegations. Like a lot of the accused males, the filmmaker is at present married. Like Cho, he has a daughter in her 20s.
“I really feel like that is their means of getting away with issues — utilizing adultery as a technique to justify their allegedly felony 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 prime of attempting to invalidate the alleged victims’ claims. I’m completely disgusted.”
MADONNA-WHORE COMPLEX VS. PERSONALITY DISORDER
Consultants say the accused males are usually not atypical amongst Korea’s middle-aged males.
“I believe they fairly have that typical patriarchal mind-set in the case of categorizing girls,” mentioned Chung Hae-sook, a senior researcher at Korean Girls’s Improvement Institute.
“For a lot of middle-aged males in Korea, all girls belong to 2 classes. One is those that are, or are going to be, dutiful wives and moms. They’re usually described as virtually sacred beings, the ever-sacrificing moms. And the remaining are those that may be sexually exploited, who’re merely there to fulfill males’s sexual wants.”
She mentioned that such methods of considering are mirrored within the parenting kinds of many Koreans. “Many mother and father attempt to management the way in which their daughters costume, make certain 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 consuming an excessive amount of, or carrying one thing that is inappropriate. Many fathers right here strive very onerous 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 girls 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.
“Folks with tendencies of this dysfunction are likely to do nicely in politics, as a result of they know what to do so as to seize consideration from lots of people. Additionally they have good social abilities, regardless of being manipulative,” Lee advised The Korea Herald.
“An knew speaking about feminism would achieve him extra supporters, however would flip to his different — or actual — self when he’s with folks that he does not must please. Folks like him are typically very selfish and narcissistic behind closed doorways. So it’s unlikely that his household life has been secure nor useful, opposite to what he has been displaying off all alongside. “
Lee additionally agreed with researcher Chung that the way in which the accused males understand and deal with girls shouldn’t be 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 girls outdoors their kinship constructions as non-humans. This notion remains to be shared by many males in Korean society, and it oppresses and exploits all girls — as a result of one may be somebody’s daughter and a sufferer of sexual misconduct on the similar time.”
WAGE-GAP, INFIDELITY AND MORE
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 a minimum of as soon as of their lives. Males of their 50s, on common, had had extramarital affairs with 12.5 girls.
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 pressured to be financially depending on their husbands, and unable to go away their husbands even within the case of infidelity of their spouses or home abuse.
Based on a report by Korea Girls’s Scorching Line, solely 8.5 per cent of all home abuse circumstances get prosecuted in South Korea, whereas virtually 40 per cent of all felony circumstances get indicted.
On the similar time, the report confirmed, that 64.three per cent of all girls 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 Girls’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’t inform the distinction between intercourse crimes and romantic — and extramarital — relationships.
“Many males in energy do not realise that it is extremely tough for his or her subordinates to say no to them in a direct means,” she advised The Korea Herald.
“For lots of them, you aren’t rejected (for intercourse) until the girl bodily resists. They do not perceive the definition of non-consensual intercourse.”
For others, it might 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 positioned.
“There are lots of males in Yeouido who’ve executed issues which can be a lot worse than the allegation that has been made in opposition to 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.'”