Semen Terrorism Engulf South Korea

Semen Terrorism Engulf South Korea
Image Credit: Ahn Young-joon/AP Photo

Politicians in South Korea are attempting to change existing legislation to make “semen terrorism” a punishable sex crime.

Baek Hye-Ryun, a lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Party, is trying to change the law to ensure that sex crimes can include non-physical contact to capture offenses such as “semen terrorism”.

Baek submitted an amendment bill to the national assembly last month that seeks to expand the scope of punishable sex crimes to include non-physical contact through the delivery of objects or substances that cause sexual shame.

“Sex crimes need to be interpreted from the victim’s point of view”

Baek Hye-ryun

The prospective law change comes after a number of court cases that have infuriated feminists and women’s rights campaigners in the country.

Semen terrorism is the act of secretly delivering or smearing semen onto someone else.

In May 2021, a male public official was fined 3 million won (£1,865) and found guilty of property damage after ejaculating six times into his female colleague’s coffee cup over a six-month period.

A man was fined in another case in 2019 for depositing semen on a woman’s shoes. Instead of being classified as a sex offense, this was classified as property damage.

These acts, according to Choi Won-jin, secretary general of the civic organization Korean Women Link, constitute hate crimes against women.

Every sex crime is a crime. This isn’t a random act of violence in the street, it’s targeting a specific gender. “

Choi told The Guardian

An increasing rate of crime against women in South Korea

According to South Korean police, women accounted for 98 percent of victims in nearly 10,000 cases of crimes against intimate partners in 2019, with an agency estimating that a woman was killed or nearly killed every 1.8 days.

A woman gets killed or nearly killed every 1.8 days in South Korea

A report claimed that 3.4 sexual crimes are reported every hour in South Korea. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), in 2008 less than 4 percent of sex crime prosecutions in South Korea involved illegal filming.

However, by 2017, the number of sex cases had increased 11-fold from 585 cases to 6,615 and constituted 20 percent of sex crime prosecutions, the HRW said.

Some Positive News

In recent years, South Korea has made some headway in modernizing its legal system. Possession of unlawful pornographic recordings now carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison, and stalkers will soon face harsher penalties.

According to Choi, “Just like other incidents that brought about legal revisions, it’s a matter of expanding our understanding of the pain that can be caused to a person and making the necessary changes.”

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