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Social phenomena reflected through sexual offenses

Almost nothing other than October Autumn Leaves is able to bring in peace and more happiness. Similar to various beauties felt only in autumn, many unique phenomena are occurring in the areas of our society, such as education, community, economy, culture and etc. Society has same character of nature. Nature makes human happy through its principle as society rules supported by spirit of truth and of freedommake our citizen comfortable and happy.

While nature is providing ‘Quality of Life’equally, society is not keeping the spirit of truth and of freedom resulting in the occasions of destroying human life and happiness. Sexual crime, one of ‘Society Destruction Phenomena’ which frequently occurs, is caused by lack of ‘Social Norm Spirit.’ The reasons sexual crime is becoming a social issue are because anyone can become offender or victim of the crime beyond place and generation and because the crime methods are getting more brutal in spite of triviality of crime motive.            

Considering that crimes are muchrelated to and in progress of cultural stream of society, sexual crime is one aspect of our current society. Many cases show that most of sexual criminals finished the crimes by not ‘violating individual sexual freedom’ but killing victims to hide the crimes.

On May 30, 2008 the Ministry of Gender Equality released the result of ‘2007 Nationwide Sexual Offense Research’ conducted between May 2007 and January 2008 by Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs and Korean Institute of Criminologythat 85% of offenders of rape and attempted rape were acquaintances of the victims. The research also showed that 28.1% of female adults were afraid of sexual offense in their normal life and that damage of sexual offense committed by acquaintances was very serious.

Examining crime types of crime damages in the research, 7.1% of the victims of "rape" or "attempted rape" reported the crimes to police. The report rate of "serious sexual assault" victim was 5.3%, "light sexual assault" 4.7%, "stalking" and "flashing" 6.8% and 4.3% respectively. The report rate of "sex line" and "marital rape" were respectively 1.6% and 1.1% of "sexual harassment" was reported to police.

Studying characteristics of the offenders, male was most of the offenders in rape, light sexual assault, flashing, and female offender’s rate was considerable in sexual harassment, sex line and stalking. Acquaintance rate in rape and attempted rape was 80.5%, but most of the offenders were non-acquaintance in serious sexual assault, flashing and sex line.

In the victims’characteristics, rate for unmarried victims was relatively high in sexual offenses except marital rape and sex line, and there were many employed victims in sexual offenses except flashing and marital rape. Especially, those who are younger, more educated, and higher in income level have stronger fear of sexual offense damages, those with sexual offense damages have greater fear than those having no such damages, and thosewho are married have much more fear than singles. Regionally, residents in Seoul are more afraid of sexual offense than residents in other places.

Regarding the laws related to sexual offense in accordance with the ways to increase report of sexual offense, 88.1% agreed with abolition of ‘offense subject to complaint,’ 65.5% agreed about punishment of sexual harassment, and 38.7% consented to punishment of marital rape.

According to the document submitted by Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs on Oct. 2, 2009 to Committee of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs in National Assembly with regard to "Sexual Criminals of Children under 13 years old and Youth," only 0.4% (8 cases) was imprisonment for life among 1,839 sexual crimes of children and youth affirmed in 2007. 42.1% (774 cases) was punishment with a fine, and 30.5% (562 cases) was probation. Especially, of rape criminals of subteenagers was 23.2% with probation, and of sexual assault criminals of subteenagers was 48.4% with probation. Furthermore, under the documents presented by Ministry of Justice to Legislation and Judiciary Committee of National Assembly it was proved that 5,948 criminals of children under 13 years old was investigated by prosecutor from Jan. 2007 to July 2009 and 42%(2,501) was not indicted.
       
The conclusion resulted from the above researches is: (1) female adult 28.1% is always in fear of sexual offense damages in their normal life report rate by victims of "rape" and "attempted rape" stays at 7% due to incompleteness of legal system; and report rates of "sex line," of "marital rape," and of "sexual harassment" were 1% respectively. This is an undeniable serious problem. (2) In regard to "Sexual Criminals of Children under 13 years old and Youth," rates for punishment with fine and probation were 72.6%, especially, of probation rate for "rape and sexual assault criminals on subteenagers" was 71.6%, and 42%(2,501) of 5,948 sexual criminals of subteenagers were not indicted, thus it is recognized that the judiciary considers they don’t need to protect subteenagers.

The legislature should have tried to do steps for people’s rights and to legislate the laws for people’s needs and they were delinquent. Whenever serious crimes such as "Anyang case" and "Cho Doo-soon case"happened, they seemed to work on different solutions, but soon the solutions were pending undetermined forever or abandoned. This is our reality.

We shall not overlook these facts, shall frequently encourage and examine each part of government for our rights, and shall construct a better society by presenting proposals in case of insufficient policies or laws. Then, we can prevent children, youth, and female living alone from becoming a target of sexual offense, provide safe protections to residents in vulnerable areas or to the weak socially and economically, and make people enjoy their happy life with human dignity and value.

Rhyi Myeong-pock  .

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