[EDITORIALS]Unacceptable behaviorThe Grand National Party’s former secretary general Choi Yeon-hee is receiving flak from the public for fondling a female reporter. Lawmaker Choi has been elected three times to the National Assembly, headed the legislation and judiciary committee and also led a party committee to screen candidates to carry the party’s banner in elections. That a lawmaker who should be a role model for society and is a key member of a political party committed such a thing is more than disappointing ― it is outrageous!
The lawmaker made the excuse that he had been drunk but the real reason for this incident was not alcohol. It was an inappropriate perception of females. The way of thinking that does not view females as colleagues or coworkers and does not respect them as human beings is at the root of this incident. Furthermore, Mr. Choi’s excuse that he mistook the reporter for the owner of the restaurant where the incident happened clearly demonstrates his perverted perception of women.
The Grand National Party has never conducted classes for its officials and lawmakers on preventing sexual harassment, although this is mandatory under the law. It’s not wrong to say that the fact that lawmakers have been living in another world without matching their words and actions to the law was a reason for this incident. The Grand National Party must punish Mr. Choi and immediately conduct sexual harassment prevention classes. One class taught thoroughly is always better than measures taken after something has happened. The National Assembly’s code of conduct related to sex offenses should also be strengthened. When each political party considers candidates for public posts, this has to be considered. Only then can a similar incident be prevented.
What is even more worrisome is that this wrong awareness about sex not only prevails at the National Assembly but in all of society. Victims of sexual crimes are still being criticized and viewed with preconceptions by society. The shock that a victim of sexual crimes receives goes on forever. Some would not like to be considered as potential wrongdoers. Nevertheless, from a standpoint that we could also become wrongdoers, we have to use this opportunity to reflect upon our awareness about sex and our sensitivity toward the opposite sex. Let’s hope this incident becomes an educational opportunity at schools for teachers and students, in the family for sons and daughters, and at work for all men and women to groom their sense of equality of the sexes.