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Tuesday,November 24,2020
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Are you Safe from Sexual Violence at DU?
Last year, a professor's sexually harassment of an exchange student was a hot issue at DU. And last month'?wall posters let DU students know that a female student got raped by her boy friend in her boarding house.
The two affairs are obviously sexual violence. However, what is sexual violence? And what determines if certain actions are sexual violence or not? According to Korea Research Institute on Sexual Violence  (http://www.sisters.or.kr), sexual violence is any behavior that forces a person to be involved in sexual acts against his or her will. Thus, sexual violence includes any physical, verbal or psychological abuse.
Sexual violence can happen between professors-students, students-students, staff members and professors at membership training, orientations and various drinking parties as well as in classes.
Actually, there's a lot of sexual harassment and violence. According to Korea Research Institute on Sexual Violence, 3.3 percent of its counseling cases (181 of 5,448 cases) from January 1997 to June 1998 was related with sexual violence on campus.
This situation had an influence on provoking campaigns to establish School Regulations against Sexual Violence. Each university is establishing its own regulations on sexual violence as victims of sexual violence reveal their stories on campus wall posters, on through the General Coed Student Council (GCSC) or the Women's Affairs (WA).
On March 10, a public hearing for establishing regulations was held in Ewha Womans University under the sponsorship of the Women Solidarity for Women's Right against Sexual Violence on Campus (http://www. freechal.com/pows/), which has steadily conduced campaigns for making regulations with female student groups at 30 universities in Seoul since 1996.
At the hearing, female student groups at Seoul National University and Yonsei University that already had regulations shared their experiences in making regulations with other groups whose schools are pushing forward a plan to make regulations.
After the hearing, they prepared a formal regulations and presented an official document asking each university to establish the regulations and to inform the Ministry of Gender Equality (MGE; http://www. moge.go.kr) of their regulations.
A series of steps taken by female groups including general coed students councils in each university seem to "make a long harvest for a little corn" to some degree. That's because some universities are trying to make regulations or update their existing regulations that exclude verbal violence or apply only to students.
DU a- lready had regulations against sexual violence on campus. However, DU's newly established regulations, entitled "Regulations about Prevention and Settlement of Sexual Offense," which went into effect on April 17, are the result of constant pressure by female groups on campus such as GCSC.
"With the help of GCSC, we reflected students' opinions in the new regulations as best as we could," said Kim Eun-hye, a member of WA, which helped the School Authorities to make the new regulations.
The new regulations on sexual violence at DU include any physical, verbal or psychological violence that fits the Korea Research Institute of Sexual Violence's definition of sexual violence.
"The existing regulations only focused on physical violence such as rape and punishment was limited to students. However, the new regulations do not include ambiguous situations dealing with accidents and apply to everyone at DU," said Jun Lee Jee-suk, the chairperson of the General Coed Student Council (GCSC; http://members.tripod.lycos.co.kr/dguchw/).
According to the regulations, the Women's Affairs (WA) takes care of counseling and dealing with sexual violence. And the Committee Against Sexual Violence, that consists of nine professors, staff members and students, investigates sexual problems on campus and keeps classified data related to individual cases.
However, it is not easy to apply the new regulations to actual situations of sexual violence when it occurs on campus. "Detailed regulations are not yet official, therefore, we can't act even if a student changes someone with a sexual violence. It will take more time to make exact regulations. Now we are collecting materials from judicial precedents of MGE and other universities?cases," said Kim Eun-hye.
Meanwhile the problem continues. Even though we have regulations, they are useless if a victim does not report his/her case to the School Authorities. "Most victims of sexual violence take a passive attitude toward dealing with their case. Getting sexually violated is a disgrace to them. However, sexual violence is not only a private problem but also a public problem,"?said Ms. Kim. After all, it is urgent for the public, including victims, to get a better understanding of sexual violence.
As for the way of correcting people's misunderstanding, Yang Kim Yu-mi, the vice chairperson of the GCSC, said the answer is in sex education. "Insufficient and ineffective sex education at school and in the home can increase the possibility of sexual violence. Tedious sex education discourages students from gaining a proper understanding of its importance and they do not participate in practical and developmental education programs," she said.
It is too earlier to be happy with the establishment of the regulations. There are lots of problems to solve ranging from making detailed regulations to changing people's misunderstanding of sexual violence. Only when all Donggukians take interest in the regulations, will they play a key role in exterminating sexual violence on campus.

Kim Dong-ho  dgudp@dongguk.edu

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