Thursday, August 16, 2018

Sexual Violence

"I'm sorry I was born. I'm sorry I'm alive." One of the students who suffered from sexual violence posted these words on SNS. A professor in the humanities department of a Catholic University writes about her embarrassment and sadness on reading these words. She expresses her thoughts on the opinion page of the Catholic Peace Weekly. 

Sexual violence refers to sexual harassment and sexual assault. It is a combination of physical, psychological, and legal violence that inflicts harm to others in sexual matters against their will

In the early 1990s, violent incidents such as sexual torture, sexual violence and murder became well known in Korea, raising social interest in sexual violence. As a result, social awareness has gradually changed, but misconceptions are still widespread. Today often we blame the victim for one reason or another and the victim is burdened with guilt.

Often, when a sexual assault occurs, the victim's clothing, drinking, the late hour and behavior are all listed as problems. "If  I didn't do what I did at that time it wouldn't have happened." "Why  did I  act in that way?" In cases of sexual violence, often the victims end up blaming themselves.

Victims suffering sexual assault are required to go to the hospital, receive emergency medical treatment, collect evidence but care for the victim should be first. In addition to victims' own efforts, family, friends, colleagues, and agency personnel should help the victim overcome their physical and psychological difficulties and to live their lives comfortably. If necessary, appropriate intervention and counseling by professionals should also be carried out. It is necessary to give courage and strength to victims so that they can overcome their fear, hurt and pain, listening and sympathizing with the story of the victim without reprimanding or sympathizing with pity.

It is not appropriate to force the perpetrator to understand or ask for forgiveness. The perpetrator must also take full responsibility for his or her wrongdoing before blaming his mistake on others, the social culture, or the victim. 

Sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence and all other violent incidents are caused by the power relationship between the strong and the weak. It occurs in the relationship between men and women, adults and children, teachers and disciples, bosses and subordinates, depending on age and gender. It is not easy for the victim in the position of the weak to appropriately deal with the perpetrator in the position of the strong. Sexual violence prevention and related measures should be approached as a problem of society as a whole

First, education in sexuality should be carried out step by step from the time of childhood to cultivate a correct sexual consciousness. In addition, it is necessary to build a practical and integrated victim support system and correction system for the perpetrator. We must build a society that respects and protects human equality and dignity.