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Drinking and sexual harassment

Posted September. 05, 2014 06:32,   

Updated January. 01, 1970 09:00


Probably it was liquor drinking that drove former presidential office spokesman Yoon Chang-jung to sexually harass a female intern of the Korean Embassy to the U.S. During President Park Geun-hye’s first visit to the U.S. then-spokesman Yoon should have been sober and alert more than anyone else accompanied. However, Yoon drank liquor with the intern and tainted reputation of Korea through a ‘sex scandal.’ Yoon himself knows whether he made a mistake under influence of alcohol, or he enjoyed sexual harassment and drinking alcohol at the same time.

Korean culture is quite generous to drinking. In the past, a perpetrator’s excuse that “I lost my mind after drinking alcohol” worked efficiently to get him out of strong punishment. According to the Supreme Court Sentencing Committee, the average penalty for rape and bodily injury was 31 months when the perpetrator was sober. However, the average was reduced to 26 months, if the perpetrator was ‘drunk.’ That means, if crime is committed under influence of alcohol, the court mitigated the punishment for the reason of ‘feeble mindedness’ based on the criminal law. The more punishments are mitigated by ‘extenuating circumstances,’ the more perpetrators would argue that their crime was an ‘accident by alcohol.’

U.S. applies strict punishment against sexual assault and harassment. There is no tolerance to sexual assault, which is forced against the other party’s will. In Oregon and other 7 states, state laws allow chemical castration of sex offenders. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a railways cargo company should compensate a female staff with 43 thousand USD for relocating her when she stood against sexual harassment at work. In 1992, New Jersey State Supreme Court ruled that sexual contact not permitted by a victim consists of sexual assault, even without any physical violence or threat. In China, sex offenders are put to capital punishment in some cases. Even in Europe, where people commonly live together before marriage, there is no tolerance to sexual violence.

Recently, a series of cases are reported in which prominent male figures are humiliated for being caught in sexual harassment while drinking alcohol. Law school professor of Seoul National University, a newly appointed judge, a Navy captain of Pyeongtaek fleet 2, and another university professor who sexually harassed a female student at a karaoke and a bar… Sexual harassment is reported frequently. “That was a mistake due to alcohol…” Such lame excuses do not take effect any longer. The perpetrator who enjoyed a superior position at the bar may have been drunk, but that left painful memory to the victim.