[EDITORIALS]Ending military sex abuseFollowing the recent case in which a private committed suicide after he was sexually harassed by a corporal in his unit, a battalion commander who habitually sexually harassed one of his soldiers was detained Sunday.
According to the National Human Rights Commission, one out of 10 soldiers has experienced sexual assault or harassment, which suggests that this is already a chronic problem in the military.
Sexual harassment is an abuse of human rights, since those who experience it suffer from feelings of intense shame. In the military, where subordinates must obey orders from those of higher rank, the victims of sexual harassment generally do not resist. Furthermore, there is no channel in the military through which victims can report such abuse. Thus, the suffering of these victims is immeasurable. Under such circumstances, some victims choose to kill themselves.
The military often tries to cover up such cases for fear they may become public. The Ministry of Defense does not even have exact statistics on sexual harassment in the military. The Ministry of Gender Equality says such cases are not its concern since they involve males only. The National Human Rights Commission says it is difficult for it to prevent such harassment from occurring. Indeed, the problem of sexual harassment in the military is in a deadlock.
Soldiers join the armed forces out of pride that they are protecting their country. But now their reward is to have their free will trampled on, feel ashamed, and find no way to appeal their cases.
The government should make every effort to end the problem. First of all, it should strictly punish those who were involved in previous cases. It then should designate a body to educate the military to prevent sexual harassment.
Considering the atmosphere in the military, where privates cannot easily voice their complaints, a way for victims to report their cases is essential. The government also should devise a system in which victims who report their cases can be protected.