No doesn’t mean yes

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No doesn’t mean yes

Men always want to do it but cannot always do it. Women can always do it but don’t always want to do it. So goes a Russian adage on sex according to Japanese writer Mari Yonehara. She sketched a scene of a waiting room of male escorts in a Southeast Asian city in her book “Proverb Anthropology.” “Several sofa beds were scattered here and there with listless bodies of male prostitutes. Even from a glance, one cannot but pity the sight of worn-out men.”

Whoever said there was easy money in the sex business? Whether it is sex trade or sexual assault, there is one undeniable motivation behind it - male sexual desire. Still, men today are compelled to suppress and control their most instinctive nature.

Just look at the social page these days. A slew of celebrity figures are in the spotlight for scandals. Actor Park Si-hoo is charged with sexual assault of an aspiring entertainer and Pak Jun, a famous hair designer who runs one of the largest beauty parlor chains in the country, is also under investigation for sexually assaulting and harassing female employees. An aspiring young doctor also has been arrested on rape charges. Their alleged crimes will have to be verified through further investigations and trials. But the latest incidents underscore the importance of good parenting and sex education of our sons.

The court has changed its perspective on sexual offense. Not long ago, rape was recognized only if the female victim resisted fiercely. But the legal interpretation of rape has broadened. A district court in Ulsan, South Gyeongsang, in November last year sentenced a man in his 30s to 18 months in prison for rape. He had a fight with his girlfriend at his home and had intercourse with her even though she warned that if he persisted she would end the relationship. Afterwards, the man took her home and the girlfriend texted him that she had been sorry. But the court ruled that the sex had not been consensual.

In the same month, a high court in Seoul overturned a ruling in the lower court and sentenced a man in his 50s to three years in prison for rape. The man showed the female victim tattoos on his body and said he had been in a gang before he demanded sex. The judge said the victim felt intimidated and could not have easily resisted.

One judge explained that sexual assault is hard to decipher because both parties could interpret the act differently. In the past, if the couple checked into a hotel together, the case was not regarded as rape. But these days, even if the woman first agrees but then decides against going through with the act and yet the man persists, it’s considered rape, he said.

One prosecutor said there are even cases where the woman accuses her partner who she was living with before marriage of forced sex upon returning from their honeymoon. It all depends on the woman who says no. In our society, a more inclusive definition of rape that would depend primarily on valid consent from the victim before sex is beginning to gain ground amid stronger awareness of sex crimes.

Men therefore have to think twice before heading to a hotel room with women they meet for the first time and especially after drinks.

Parents tend to tolerate their sons if they perform well academically. But a goody two-shoes can also ruin his life in a moment’s mistake. One judge remembered telling a female peer how he envied her for having a son and not a daughter because the world is becoming more and more dangerous to raise a girl. But his peer returned the envy, saying the world is equally dangerous for sons because they could go to prison if they do not control themselves. We have to teach our sons to behave and ask their female partners what they want. Most of all they must remember that they must stop when they are asked to. Otherwise they may end up in prison.

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Kwon Suk-chun
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