There has been a rise in cases where victims of sexual violence who refuse to hush up the matter are sued by the perpetrator for 'defamation of character.' Women groups, regarding such moves as "another form of violence meant to force victims to shut up," are planning to put up a forceful, united front, starting with the launch of a collective countermeasure committee.
Professor K of Dongkuk University, a sexual violence suspect, recently filed a libel suit against the victim and another professor who took issue with his behavior. The case served to bring together all the countermeasure committees dealing with different cases, and these committees allied with relevant women groups to form a collective countermeasure committee. So far, there have been various separate committees including the 'Alliance to Root Out Sexual Violence by Professors' and the 'Professors' Group to Eradicate Sexual Violence in Universities,' formed by women student councils or women's commissions in universities to demand that the Ministry of Education and each university come up with measures to prevent sexual violence. The Korea Association of Women's Studies had also launched a 'Committee against Sexual Violence in Universities' on its own.
Womenlink Korea's co-representative Chung Gil Ja says, "This case is not simply about one woman professor but a challenge to our (women groups) efforts to advance public interest." Chung emphasizes "the need to put an end to men's resistance against actions that support women's rights."
Professor Cho Eun (History, Dongkuk University), who is involved in the lawsuit, points out that "the case has shown how chauvinistic and violent institutional power such as the university, Ministry of Education, police, prosecution and professors' society actually is." She advises that we have to "be clearly aware of the workings of the mechanism that hushes up sexual violence."
Until now, there have been a considerable number of cases where the perpetrator of sexual violence files a libel suit against his victim if she seeks criminal and civil remedies against him. After the much-publicized libels suits by the vice-president of the KBS workers' union against the victim and the 100-member committee (Translator's note: a women's committee that carried out their own investigations into sexual violence cases and stirred up quite a controversy by disclosing a blacklist of confirmed perpetrators on the Internet) and by Dongkuk University professor K against the victim and his own colleague, women groups have had enough. They are now angrily lashing out, "Are we supposed to keep quiet in the face of sexual violence and ignore the victims when we know they've been wronged?"