/When seemingly devoted husbands turn into alleged intercourse criminals

When seemingly devoted husbands turn into alleged intercourse criminals

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,” stated 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.

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Some seven years have handed, and Ko is considered 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 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 dependable husbands.

Behind closed doorways, it appears, they have 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 just 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 executed 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 explanation why he was finding out feminist texts was because of his spouse, as she had emotionally and financially supported him all through his reasonably turbulent political profession, he stated.

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An was imprisoned quite a lot of instances, as soon as over his pupil 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 once extensively tipped as one of many prime candidates to be South Korea’s subsequent President.

“Joo-won is the individual that I like essentially the most, a pal whom I spent and endured a few years with, and the mom of my two youngsters,” he stated 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, often called White Day, an annual event the place males reward 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 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,” stated Lim Ji-hyun, an workplace employee in her 20s in Seoul.

“He principally used feminism for his personal political profession, and likewise used his personal spouse as some type of a self-promotion instrument 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 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 typically collaborated with award-winning filmmaker Kim Ki-duk, is arguably dealing with a few of the most critical allegations by quite a lot of ladies.

S. Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-dukPicture: AFP

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

More actresses accuse S Korean director Kim Ki-duk, actor Cho Jae-hyun of sexual assault

Nevertheless, in a TV programme known as “Take Care of My Dad,” the place Cho appeared together 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 performing abilities and profession.

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

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

“The truth that they introduced themselves as preferrred father and husband figures is proof that they clearly knew what they’d been doing to different ladies — the alleged victims — have been fallacious and prison actions,” she stated.

Some criticised An and filmmaker Kim for claiming that their relationships with the alleged victims have 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 have been at all times consensual,” stated 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 approach of getting away with issues — utilizing adultery as a option to justify their allegedly prison behaviours,” stated 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 making an attempt to invalidate the alleged victims’ claims. I’m totally disgusted.”


Consultants say the accused males should not atypical amongst Korea’s middle-aged males.

“I believe they reasonably have that typical patriarchal mind-set on the subject of categorizing ladies,” stated Chung Hae-sook, a senior researcher at Korean Girls’s Growth 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 typically described as virtually sacred beings, the ever-sacrificing moms. And the remainder are those that might be sexually exploited, who’re merely there to fulfill males’s sexual wants.”

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She stated that such methods of pondering are mirrored within the parenting types of many Koreans. “Many dad and mom attempt to management the way in which their daughters costume, ensure that they arrive residence earlier than it will get too darkish,” Chung informed 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 attempt 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 ladies outdoors their household.”

Lee Sue-jung, a professor of criminological psychology at Kyonggi College, stated 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 to be able to seize consideration from lots of people. In addition they have good social abilities, despite being manipulative,” Lee informed 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 people who he would not must please. Folks like him are usually very selfish and narcissistic behind closed doorways. So it’s unlikely that his household life has been steady nor useful, opposite to what he has been exhibiting off all alongside. “

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

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

“They grew up watching their fathers treating their wives and daughters as properties that wanted to be protected, whereas treating ladies 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 ladies — as a result of one might be somebody’s daughter and a sufferer of sexual misconduct on the similar time.”


Statistics again up Chung and Lee’s factors.

A research in 2016 confirmed that greater than half of married Korean males have had extramarital affairs at the 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 also 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.

Based on a report by Korea Girls’s Sizzling Line, solely 8.5 per cent of all home abuse instances get prosecuted in South Korea, whereas virtually 40 per cent of all prison instances 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 stated they contracted STDs from their wives.

Lee Soo-yeon, a researcher at Korean Girls’s Growth Institute, stated whereas infidelity is a private selection, it is very important be aware that it is rather 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 rather tough for his or her subordinates to say no to them in a direct approach,” she informed The Korea Herald.

“For lots of them, you aren’t rejected (for intercourse) except the girl 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 during which she stated that there are “many different An Hee-jungs” in Yeouido, the district the place the Nationwide Meeting is situated.

“There are numerous males in Yeouido who’ve executed issues which are a lot worse than the allegation that has been made in opposition to An,” she wrote.

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