[EDITORIALS]Ivy-covered sexual assault

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[EDITORIALS]Ivy-covered sexual assault

For the first time at a Korean institution of higher education, Seoul National University has expelled a student for sexual violence. The student is now on a leave of absence, and will not be allowed to re-enroll. The state-run university said it decided that the student was a habitual offender because its center for sexual harassment and violence, which was set up early this year, had received eight reports of sexual offenses in which he was involved. The victims did not know each other.

The student's expulsion is a misfortune for him, but considering the rampant sexual harassment and assault, we believe that it was inevitable for the university to crack down. The Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center said it received 112 requests for counseling from victims of sexual violence from January 2000 through last June, sharply up from 75 requests during the comparable period three years earlier. The statistics show that on-campus sexual violence is no longer a matter of a handful of individuals.

This is nothing new. Female students, who have so far been submissive in our male-centered culture, are now beginning to complain out loud. Thanks to female students' efforts to force schools to crack down on sexual violence, and because counseling centers have been set up, female students have recourse from abuses of traditional deference to professors and to students senior to them.

Female collegians now regard sexual violence and harassment as an evil practice that has to be corrected. They no longer believe such attacks are to be concealed out of personal shame. If men refuse to accept the change, such expulsions must be repeated. Campuses will have to take strong measures to change the male-dominated sexual culture by, for example, providing mandatory education on sex equality for male community members - particularly those who are in authority positions, such as professors, instructors and more senior students.

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