Sex crime probe results revealed by joint force

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Sex crime probe results revealed by joint force

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism held a joint press briefing on Tuesday to present the results of the series of investigations carried out by a special fact-finding group, jointly run by the two entities over the course of 100 days beginning March 12.

The fact-finding group came about after the government promised to root out sexual crimes in the art and culture field on March 9, as a response to the Me Too movement that arose after the revelation made by prosecutor Seo Ji-hyun. Since its launch, the fact-finding group has carried out investigations into 36 crimes that occurred in the arts and entertainment industry, held 28 discussion sessions and sent surveys to a total of 64,911 people from 24 art institutions and art schools. They received 4,380 responses.

Five cases out of the 36 reported to the fact-finding group were investigated according to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea Act, while the other 31 cases were closed after a round of basic investigation due to reasons such as: the case being handed over to police, the statute of limitations had expired on the case, or the victim could not be specified as the report was made by a third party.

“The number of the cases [reported] may seem small,” said Cho Young-sun, the chief of the fact-finding group and also the head of the administration division of the human rights commission. “The months between March and April were a time when the Me Too movement had relatively slowed down, and [victims] were in the middle of legal disputes with their assailants over the validity of their claims.”

According to the survey, which was conducted from May 2 to 20 on those working in the art industry who were not students attending art school, 57.7 percent of the 2,478 women who responded had been victims of a sex crime or had been sexually harassed. Of the total of 3,718 non-student respondents, 70.6 percent were freelance workers.

“Although a lot of things were revealed through the Me Too movement and sex crimes have come to a state of lull, it doesn’t mean that the gender inequality problems have been eradicated,” said Cho. “We will not overlook the fact that there are victims out there. It is time to begin our efforts in rooting out sex crimes.”

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]

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