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A government study has found that roughly half of the perpetrators of violence against women in Korea are current or former partners or spouses of their victims. Despite what the study revealed, the government did not distribute a press release or explain its findings in a briefing.
According to the results of a 2021 study on violence against women, which the Korean Women’s Development Institute conducted via a research contract with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, out of 7,000 adult women surveyed, 16.1% or 1,124 women had experienced physical, sexual, emotional, or financial violence or control at the hands of intimate partners such as current or former spouses or partners.
The study was conducted according to the Framework Act on Prevention of Violence Against Women, which took effect in December of 2019, and was the first government study that aimed to examine violence against women within the context of intimate relationships, which existing studies did not consider.
The study surveyed 7,000 adult women over the age of 18 across the country from Sept. 22 to Oct. 22 last year.
The share of respondents who had experienced violence against women at least once in their lifetime was 34.9% (2,446). Among them, 1,124 had been subject to violence at the hands of current or former partners or spouses, meaning that 46.0% of victims of violence against women were victimized by perpetrators with whom they had intimate relationships.
Among those who were subject to violence within the context of intimate relationships, 61.9% said they were subject to emotional violence, while 52.5% and 27.9% said they were subject to physical and sexual violence, respectively.
In terms of violence in the context of dating, among the 2,446 women who experienced violence against women at least once, 14.3%, or 350 women, were subject to violence at the hands of their partner at the time or their former partner. Among perpetrators of dating violence, 43.2% inflicted sexual violence, while 37.8% and 36.4% committed physical and emotional violence, respectively.
Out of all types of violence against women, sexual violence had the largest share of male perpetrators at 94.7%. Victims reported men staring at certain of their body parts (25.1%), making sexual comments about their appearance (19.3%), and forcibly touching their body (18.5%).
An additional study was conducted from Nov. 8 to Nov. 30 last year, surveying 1,000 female teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 in order to investigate online grooming. Among the 347 respondents who had experience talking one-on-one with an adult they didn’t know online, 28.8% (100) answered that their conversation partner made sexual demands of them online or in person.
“The most serious issue with online grooming is that cases tend to stay hidden, as teenage victims do not take the problem seriously or are reluctant to report their case even when they feel hurt,” the research team commented. “All children and teenagers should receive relevant education through various organizations outside the school.”
Although the findings of the study were scheduled to be announced in March, the announcement was postponed multiple times, ultimately being delayed by five months. When asked by the Hankyoreh when the study’s results would be revealed, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family answered that they would be released in June or July, but the findings were ultimately released in late August.
Moreover, even though the study was the first of its kind on violence against women in the context of intimate relationships, the government did not announce its findings in person, failing to distribute a press release or explain the study’s results in a briefing. A report of the study’s findings was posted on the website of the government’s policy research management system and on the policy material bulletin on the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family’s website. The ministry also did not officially alert the press of the fact that the results of its study on violence against women had been posted online.
By O Se-jin, staff reporter
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