Culture Ministry urged to impose stronger penalties for sex crimes

By Yoon Min-sik
  • Published : Jul 2, 2018 - 16:59
  • Updated : Jul 2, 2018 - 16:59

A government committee on Monday rolled out a series of recommendations for the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for sexual offenses, including banning the perpetrators from receiving any subsidy.

The ministerial committee on measures against sex offenses announced the four major tasks to eradicate sexual violence in the culture sector: implementing a system to prevent and deal with the aftermath of a sex crime, including related legislations and help centers for the victims; banning attackers from receiving any form of government subsidy or awards; educational programs for those in the field; and a regular surveys on sexual offenses in the field.

A pan-government meeting on eradicating sexual offenses, hosted by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, is held at Seoul Government Complex on June 15. (Yonhap)

The 10-member ministerial committee, which consists of two government and eight civilian members, was launched on March 19.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that sexual attacks plague the entertainment and culture sector as the worldwide #MeToo movement gained momentum here. Such well-known figures, such as actors Cho Jae-hyun and Oh Dal-soo were accused of sexual assault; the former went into semi-retirement while Oh has flatly denied the accusations. Actor Jo Min-ki committed suicide as allegations of sexual assault mounted against him.

Another government report released last month showed that over half of the women currently working in the culture and entertainment sector experienced a form of sexual violence. Out of the 2,478 female respondents in the survey that accompanied a probe on the matter, 1,429 said that they had been subjected to some form of sexual assault ranging from verbal abuse to rape.

The report also showed that the statute of limitation has passed on many of the 175 cases of sexual attacks that have been reported to the authorities since March. It implied that many victims of sexual attacks are still afraid to come out, an observation further backed by the 11 cases in which victims did not want their case investigated.

The Culture Ministry committee noted that the unique nature of the culture sector has most of its members working in a freelance environment, which makes it hard for them to stand up for their rights. They noted that this calls for the committee to maintain much more strict measures against the offenders.

For example, offenders or anyone rejecting the ministry-run countermeasure system could be banned from even entering the screening process for any subsidies, and have their previous support revoked immediately.

The Culture Ministry said that it would review the recommendations made by the committee and reflect them in their policies.

By Yoon Min-sik