Time to protect the victimAn Hee-jung resigned as the governor of South Chungcheong and from politics after his secretary went on TV to bluntly accuse him of multiple rapes. The police has embarked on an investigation and the prosecution will follow suit after the victim reports the crimes to prosecutors. An has been forced to end his 29-year political career. Once dubbed as a presidential hopeful, he has now become a suspect for sexual assault.
Many are dumbfounded by the hypocrisy of a politician with a fresh image who won voters through his centrist views and reasoning. Citizens rushed to his residence with baseball bats and the South Chungcheong government website was bombarded with critical comments. A women’s rights association demanded a strong punishment as An’s crime is a typical case of power-based sexual violence.
The Me Too movement has gained momentum because it values the victims. Kim Ji-eun, An’s secretary, said in the JTBC newsroom that she came on TV to expose An’s misconduct and to plead for public protection. She said she also hoped her actions could encourage other victims to come forward.
The people must answer and support her courage. Some suspect her intentions. These accusations can cause victims even more pain. A move by TeamSteelBird, a group of fans and followers of An on Twitter, stood out. As soon as the scandal erupted, the group announced that it was closing down because it “had lost faith” in An and pledged support for the victim. The victim said she did not get any help despite repeated calls for help. She was alone in her first ordeal. Society must stand behind Kim in her difficult journey forward.
JoongAng Ilbo, Mar. 7, Page 30