South Korea Supports ‘Me Too’ Movement for International Women’s Day

Ben Cho, March 8, 2018, 1:27 p.m.

Women's advocacy groups in South Korea held rallies and events Thursday to celebrate International Women's Day while also coalescing behind the growing "Me Too" movement against predatory sexual crimes. The Korean National Council of Women (KNCW) hosted an event marking International Women's Day at the National Assembly in Seoul, bringing together 500 guests from 110 women's rights groups throughout the country.

The attendees at the event promised to expand support for the growing Me Too movement and also work closely to root out the pervasive culture of predatory sexual behavior throughout South Korean society.

"We will join the Me Too movement until the end to eradicate all types of sexual violence that infringe upon women's rights," the group said in a statement. Democratic Party chief Choo Mi-ae, Liberty Party Korea's floor leader Kim Sung-tae, Yoo Seung-min of Bareunmirae Party and Cho Bae-sook of the Party for Democracy and Peace also attended the event.

The KNCW also announced the launch of a support group for victims of sexual violence who have come forward during the ongoing Me Too movement. The group, formed by the Korea Family Legal Service Center, the Korean Psychological Association and the Korean Women Lawyers Association, aims to provide legal and psychological support to those with traumatic experiences of sexual victimhood.

The Korea Women's HotLine also held campaigns in major areas in Seoul, handing people white roses, the latest symbol of the Me Too movement against sexual harassment.

The Korea YWCA also held a street rally in downtown Seoul demanding justice authorities thoroughly investigate alleged sexual assault cases exposed through the latest Me Too movement. Participants dressed in black and purple to show their solidarity with the Me Too movement.

The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions and the Korean Women Workers Association held a joint rally in Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul demanding equal pay for women.

Since a female prosecutor revealed in January that she was sexually assaulted by a senior colleague several years ago, the Me Too movement has spread quickly across the country, including in the culture, arts, education and religious sectors.

Earlier in the day, the government announced a plan to raise the maximum punishment and extend the statute of limitations for sexual assault cases involving abuse of power at work.

The maximum prison sentence for obtaining sex through abuse will be raised to 10 years from the current five years. The statute of limitations will also be extended to 10 years from the current 7-year threshold. For sexual harassment cases, the maximum punishment will be raised to five years from the current two-year ceiling.

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