#MeToo Movement Continues Its Dramatic Effect In South Korea As It Oust Icons & Men Of Power
Unbeknownst to some, there have been some brave women in the past who came out to talk about sexual harassment done to them. However, it is only now that the voices grew louder as the #MeToo campaign takes flight all over the world and now, landing in South Korea.
The movement has put important careers at risk especially the ones in the entertainment industry and politics. Recently, filmmaker Kim Ki-Duk and former artistic director of the National Theater of Korea, Lee Youn-taek were charged with rape. Poet Ko Un, a literary figure in the country was also accused of sexual harassment, putting all his works removed from textbooks.
Eight years ago, Lee Eun-eui, a lawyer who was working at Samsung in 2010 experienced sexual harassment and she was belittled as a woman in the workplace when she didn't reciprocate her boss' advances. She took the incident to court, which won her $34,000.
Following that incident, she went to law school and in 2015, she was able to establish her own practice. It was difficult for her at first because no one is keen to hire a whistleblower. However, she is determined to reach success so she focused on labor issues.
It was then that surprisingly, she received a number of sexual harassment cases from women. These were brought by her Samsung case and the book she wrote about her experience.
However, it was only until January of late last year when the movement took off in South Korea when Seo Ji-Hyun, a female prosecutor accused a man of power of sexually harassing her. Her coming out gained huge support, which then drove the movement into greater heights in the country.
Ever since her coming out, more and more women have started to put on a brave face and start talking about their horrific past that involves sexual abuse or harassment.
Lee is very happy with the rapid changes she's seeing.
"Korean society is not used to hearing the stories from the victim's point of view. But now it's happening," she said.
Will the movement stick? That we don't know, but with how it's affecting a conservative society public opinion is changing.