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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on March 8)

2018/03/08 07:07

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From hero to zero

: Gov. An's case offers momentum for #MeToo campaign

One of the favorite contenders for the next leadership of the Republic of Korea ended up going from a hero to zero overnight Monday. He is South Chungcheong Governor Ah Hee-jung, who is accused of raping and sexually harassing his 33-year-old secretary several times during the eight months she worked in his office.

Shortly after his secretary Kim Ji-eun made the bombshell disclosure in a TV interview, joining the ever-spreading #MeToo campaign, Gov. An admitted the allegation and resigned. A deputy governor and all of his secretaries followed suit.

The misconduct of this "most prominent figure" in the snowballing movement against sexual violence against women is not just a simple surprise and shock to our society. It provides precious momentum to fight sexual assaults against women by those who pull rank.

In particular, the case of An, who finished second in the then Democratic Party's presidential race after Moon Jae-in last year, should become an occasion for other victims in the political world to come out to testify about their bitter experiences.

Actually, a female assistant to a lawmaker disclosed Tuesday that she had been sexually assaulted by a male assistant over the past three years. In fact, scandals and rumors about sexual violence involving lawmakers and politicians have been constant topics in and out of parliament so far.

An's case implies that some politicians have allegedly treated women within their authority as objects to satisfy their sexual desires. It is needless to say that police should investigate An's case thoroughly for criminal punishment of the shameful political leader who betrayed all of us, not to speak of his supporters, to bring to light the whole picture.

We have to praise and encourage the victim of An's misconduct for her courageous disclosure of her powerful boss's ugly misdeeds and immediate action to file a criminal complaint against him with the prosecution.

We hope this shocking incident will become an occasion to make Korea a "society free of sexual crimes." This is also the sole way to comfort and defend the victims who disclose their painful experiences with fear. The #MeToo movement should continue to prevail to bring a big change to the country.

(END)

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