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Serial gang rapes in Miryang

The Korea Times and JoongAng Ilbo have finally decided to report on the absolutely infuriating incident that took place in Miryang, South Gyeongsang province in which a gang up 41 boys (with police saying another 30 to 70 could be involved) repeatedly gang raped five middle and high school girls over the course of a year. If that wasn’t bad enough, the girls and their families were then threatened by the parents of the boys and insulted by police investigating the crime.

Just to give you the basic facts:

On Tuesday, the 41 high school students from Miryang were caught by the police after beating and raping three middle school girls several times since January.

The boys allegedly met one of the victims, identified as Choi, 14, through chatting on cell phones, and sexually assaulted her when she visited them in Miryang in January.

They then threatened to upload the scene of the assault on the Internet, and lured Choi’s sister and a cousin then raped them as well.

The brutal crime only got worse when the police got involved:

Police at first arrested only three of the 41 boys involved, but the victims and other citizens strongly protested, demanding that other suspects be arrested and punished.

Only then did police arrest the additional nine students and book 29 others without detention on Saturday.

Police have come under strong criticism for reportedly making the young victims of the sexual assaults feel ashamed and insulted during the investigation, by failing to protect them from their assaulters and even leveling insults at them.

The victims and their families demanded questioning by female police officers, but were ignored by the police. Some of their personal details were also made public.

When the victims were questioned at the police station, family members of the assaulters besieged the victims, threatening them with additional attacks.

In the course of investigation, the girls were also able to hear abuse from one of the attackers. Police also made the victims point out their assailants in front of them, leading the girls to worry about the possibility of revenge.

Actually, to be more specific, some of the family members told the girls’ family members, “Now that you’ve reported our sons, try to survive. Watch out for yourselves from now on.” Apparently, some of the family members identified themselves as “gangsters” as well.

As pointed out, the police arrested only three of the initial 41. 12 were released on bail, six were booked without detention, and 20 were sent home with a warning. Yes, warnings for involvement in serial rape. Just goes to show you an offender need not a SOFA for the cops to drop the ball.

Oh, and just for added measure, one of the Ulsan cops took the opportunity to insult the victims:

One police officer was also found to have insulted the victims, saying: “My hometown is Miryang, and you girls have brought disgrace on the city.”

Actually, that’s not all the cop said to the girls, but to be fair to the KT, the JoongAng didn’t report was said in full, either. What was actually said was:

“Weren’t you girls waving your asses around and [kept] going there because you liked it? My hometown is Miryang, and you’ve destroyed the reputation of the town.”

Needless to say, Korea’s Internet users, a.k.a. the “Netizens,” have been furious. Lists of names, photos, phone numbers, and other personal information of the perpetrators — obtained by Korea’s industrious Netizens — have been making their way around cyberspace. Saturday evening’s candlelight protest at Gwanghwamun was planned on the Internet, with other Internet warriors planning “road trips” to Miryang to mete out some punishment of their own. One problem with such phenomena, of course, is that many of the names and photos going around have not been correct.

Readers of Korean might find this piece critical of the media coverage of the incident interesting. I’ll probably cite from it tomorrow.

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • aletheia

    * In the United States, 1.3 women are raped every minute. That results in 78 rapes each hour, 1872 rapes each day, 56160 rapes ech month and 683,280 rapes each year.
    * 1 out of every 3 American women will be sexually assulted in her lifetime.
    * The United States has the world’s highest rape rate of the countries that publish such statistics. It’s 4 times higher than Germany, 13 times higher than England, and 20 times higher than Japan.
    * 1 in 7 women will be raped by her husband.
    * 83% of rape cases are ages 24 or under.
    * 1 in 4 college women have either been raped or suffered attempted rape.
    * 1 in 12 males students surveyed had commited acts that met the legal definition of rape. Furthermore, 84% of the men who had commited such acts said what they had done was definitely not rape.
    * 75% of male students and 55% of female students involved in acquintance rape had been drinking or using drugs.
    * Only 16% of rapes are ever reported to the police.

  • aa

    “For the piece that you?€™re planning to cite later, could you tell us what comments people have posted to that article.”

    Oh forgot to mention, for people who are unable to read Korean. Thanks.

  • WJK

    41 boys, eh? Parents defending their boys, eh? Not too surprising. Look at Scott Peterson’s family. Absolute denial. I can’t say this with absolute certainty, but if my boy did something like that, I won’t support a lie. I would ask for a milder sentence, but absolute denial is really ugly. Selfish filth.

    If you didn’t notice by now, Korea doesn’t take rape seriously. They kind of think that raped women were raped because they weren’t careful.

    It’s time to make an example out of people. Put all 41 in jail. Give them all 10 year terms. Fire the policemen who were in charge. Make a punishingly clear example.

    It’s for the good of Korea.

  • hanminjoke

    I was always a bit suspicious when the Korean media put Yonsama from Winter Sonata forward as the prime example of the modern-day Korean male, but now I’m a believer!

    Right there on the extras disc of the Winter Sonata DVD set is an unaired episode titled “Victim, Schmictim.” Our bespectacled hero put on his inspectors hat to investigate a brutal case of gang rape in this special episode. Choosing not to waste time with the perps, Yonsama took aim at the 13-year old victim, berating and insulting her before forcing her to identify her attackers face to face, as well as parading her in front of the parents of the perps for some additional pain and suffering.

    Never again will I argue with the Japanese housewives in my neighborhood when they regale me with tales of the dead-accurate depiction of Korean men in that wonderfully realistic drama. So true. So true.

  • aa

    For the piece that you’re planning to cite later, could you tell us what comments people have posted to that article.

  • kimbob

    hanminjoke, to be fair, if you read Korean, you would know that has been on the Korean news for a while now.

    English language papers mostly don’t cover local news until it becomes a national issue, which this has become as the public anger has been built up.

    Essentially, English papers in Korea are rags, more designed to act as an ad to advertise Korea to foreigners, rather then bring serious news. At least I’ll give you that one.

  • bluejives

    Oh my God. Miryang? That small, charming, sleepy little town in Kyungsangnam-do? I taught English there at a middle school back in ’95. Damn the police!

  • http://www.cathartidae.blog-city.com/ Brian

    What did you expect? “Here is Korea.”

    Brian

  • R. Elgin

    I’m glad that Korean “netziens” are raising their voice over an issue that is really worth their efforts. The whole thing is illustrative of improvements that desperately need made law enforcement so that such problems are handled in a quick and professional manner. Having family members of assailants make open threats to rape victims should never be tolerated in any society that prides itself on justice.

  • aletheia

    i am not sure what is worse: the (lack of) action of the cops or our righteous indignation over it. In each case, I question the motives. Just because some slapping around shows up on a DVD or some rape-like scene ends up on a Korean ero video doesn’t mean the all Koreans are animals. Likewise, look at Japan. The bottom line is that we Amercans rape more than the Koreans and Japanese combined.

    Further, Koreans generally turn the other way on ALL crimes by minors–so this is not really just about rape. The Koreans know what has been right under America’s nose all along, that throwing 40-70 minors behind bars for 10 years will niether create 40-70 model citizens nor dissuade others from doing the same thing.

    How 40-70 kids coordinate the rape of 5 girls over several months seems slightly ridiculous. But what is clear, with that many people involved, is that there was a lot of “follow the leader” crap going on (a very stupid thing Koreans do quite well). The leaders should go to jail, in my opinion, and the others pay-up some money. I’m sure that is what is in the minds of the authorities down there.

  • kimchipig

    aletheia, I do not know where you get your data but based on what Korean women have told me, rape is rampant in Korea and the police do nothing about it 99% of the time. I once had a girlfriend who was assualted by a taxi driver on her way home from a movie. She did not even bother to report it.

  • Richard

    According to the FBI UCR report released last month, there were 93,443 reports of forcible rape in 2003. A slight decrease from the previous year.

  • kimchipig

    I am impressed with your figures, aletheia. However, you display great ignorance of Korean society.

  • robertneff103

    Marmot I am glad you finally did this article – I was a little disappointed Sunday when I didn’t see it on your Blog.

    aletheia:
    I am not going to dispute your facts that you have given – I can’t. I remember watching a couple years ago on the Oprah Show (yeah I watch it – so what?) about the discovery of young girls in middle school engaged in oral sex parties (they were discovered after the school health officials noticed an abnormally high rate of VD). These things happen throughout the world and Korea is no exception.

    There are many instances of these rapes in Korea. Remember several years ago the high school boys video taped their orgy with a middle school girl and sold it – you can still find the videos out there. I don’t think the girl was raped, I think she went along with the taping. The point is the police did not handle it very well. There are many sites on the internet where minors engage in video chatting (one-on-one and in groups) and often they shed their clothing. I have surprised a number of students in the past while using the computer in the PC rooms. When they (the students) see a foreigner they naturally assume that I am not a threat to their erotic chatting (IMs) but I often can’t help noticing (alright – so I am nosey [nosy?]) what they are chatting about. I am sure that many of you are familiar with Pong-gae meetings and parties – you would be surprised at how many of these kids are involved in them.

    I think that things aren’t going to change for the better until people actually get involved and force the establishment to change. The system needs to be changed.

    I am going to shamelessly quote one of my own articles:

    “I remember reading in the newspaper many years ago that a Korean woman woke up in the middle of the night to discover her house being robbed. The precise facts of the story elude my memory, but the thief raped her and while she was being raped she bit off a piece of his nose. He was captured, arrested and brought to court, but so was she. She was arrested for assault and found guilty. He was found innocent of rape because she was dressed in such a provocative manner (she was wearing her underwear _ remember, she was asleep in her own bed), that the thief felt compelled to rape her. I remember reading that in complete disbelief. Thank goodness the courts no longer think this way. But wait a second, that?€™s wrong! The courts still do reason in this manner. The recent ruling by the Seoul High Court that a young female American soldier (only 19), raped by a Korean taxi driver, after she missed the last bus at Incheon International Airport and accepted the rapist?€™s offer to drive her to her camp, was not actually rape is a case in point. The Inchon District Court found the taxi driver guilty, but the Seoul High Court reasoned that she gave up physically resisting the taxi driver too early in the assault, and thus it was not rape! With this sort of reasoning one must wonder what the real rape rate is in Korea.

    It is nice to know there are some things in the Land of the Morning Calm I know will never change.”

  • Brendon Carr

    Alethia’s “statistics” look pretty familiar — they seem to have come from the same “women’s studies” cabal that infested our law school. God, what a bunch of totalitarian pinheads.

    One of the striking differences between Alethia’s crew and the rest of us is they consider EVERYTHING to be a rape or attempted rape. The FBI reported not 683,280 rapes in 2003, but 93,433 — Alethia’s figure being seven times higher. The FBI’s figures include all sexual contact obtained by force or threat of force, which itself includes the victim’s reasonable perception of threat of force. Basically, any time a woman reports she was afraid something bad would happen if sex were refused, that’s a “forcible rape” according to FBI definition.

    The women’s studies definition is far, far broader, in a way that seems intellectually dishonest and defamatory.

  • http://groups.msn.com/KoreanMediaWatch Gerry Bevers

    Aletheia: “The bottom line is that we Amercans rape more than the Koreans and Japanese combined.”

    Gerry: Where is your comparative data, Aletheia?

    Gerry: Even in recent times, one tactic used by some Korean men to get the woman of their dreams was to essentially rape the woman, who then often felt she had little choice but to marry the man who have deflowered her. Thank God Korean women now realize they have other options, including reporting the rapist to the police, who still seem to have trouble understanding the meaning of “rape.”

  • Brendon Carr

    The women?€™s studies definition is far, far broader, in a way that seems intellectually dishonest and defamatory.
    – which is not to say that rape is not a serious crime (the usual retort from the totalitarian sisters of the women’s studies movement). My instinct is to lock ‘em ALL up, perpetrators and police, and mark that as the proverbial “this will not stand” line in the sand. And the Missouri trailer-park side of me says the fathers and/or brothers of the victims ought to go have a little word with the rotten little bastards. But 41 of ‘em, God…

    I have two little girls, ages 7 and 4, and my wife and I have already been warning them about strange men and the danger that they can pose. We’ve got them in taekwondo and will keep them in it through high school. The problem with martial arts is that a big guy is almost always able to overpower some girl. When my daughters are in high school I will probably teach them to use a gun, and make sure they have one when they go off to college or the service.

    Fathers need to teach their daughters to be strong and independent, brave and resourceful, but most of all — let her know that Daddy always, ALWAYS, has got her back no matter what.

    It’s in this last area that Korea’s patriarchy tragically lets its daughters down.

  • aletheia

    The point is not really who rapes or screws or chats about ?€œswapping?€? more or less than us. Those numbers could be in fact inflated, for all I know. Does it matter? The point is rather what to do with MINORS in such cases. A criminal record is not something that can ever be overcome in this country. I think Koreans generally would say that 40-70 or so 16 year olds should not be condemned to a life of cleaning sewers for this act.

    Should that attitude be changed? Maybe, but there is a method to their madness.

  • bluejives

    Oh I get it now, Brian, Kimchipig, Brenden, and Gerry.
    You guys are only interested in news like this not because of justice, but only insofar as to paint Koreans, especially Korean men look like backwards savages compared to ‘enlightened’ whites like you. When I was in Korea, in Miryang 10 years ago, this sort of event would have been unheard of. And what’s with this pissing contest about who has a worse record in rape statistics? Unreported rape doesn’t happen in the US as well? My current girlfriend, a girl who grew up in South Jersey, was raped by some strange psycho she met at a beach back in high school. Guess what? She and her friends didnt report it to the police despite the fact that he was threatening them. Rape is a very tricky. Another thing, when her parents found out, her parents, especially her father, treated it as if it was her fault that it happened.

  • hanminjoke

    “Those numbers could be in fact inflated, for all I know. Does it matter?”

    It matters only if you care about your credibility. After seeing you post what are obviously loaded stats (it only takes a quick google search to verify that fact), I’ll cease to read your posts from here on out.

    If you’re not concerned that you come across as a dishonest fraud, then no, it doesn’t matter if they’re inflated.

    If you’d like to be taken seriously, then yes.

  • aletheia

    hanminjoke.
    The numbers look to me as though one is officially reported cases, and the other includes unreported ones. I didn’t just make it up. But I think we can all agree that lots more happen than are reported.

  • bluejives

    oh. so sorry, robertneff. i forgot to include you in my list of distinguished ‘enlightened’ white male expats. you the biggest one of them all.

  • bluejives

    oh yeah, you too hanminjoke. all the usual suspects.

  • hanminjoke

    “You guys are only interested in news like this not because of justice, but only insofar as to paint Koreans, especially Korean men look like backwards savages compared to ?€?enlightened?€™ whites like you.”

    Klassic Korean maneuver jives, overstating the criticism, i.e. SAVAGES, in order to deflect a valid and reasonable criticism.

    The fact is that Korean society is still relatively backward when it comes to the treatment of women, both victims of crime and otherwise. That doesn’t equate to Korean men being savages, but it does equate to them having very little respect for Korean females.

    The examples are countless, but one of the klassics was a coach of a Korean women’s pro basketball about 3-4 years ago who punched one of his players in the side of the head, rupturing her eardrum and causing permanent damage to her.

    Not only was he not charged with a crime, he wasn’t even fucking fired because the league accepted his explanation that she “wasn’t playing well and talked back to him.”

    Tell me jives, were that an American coach, would you call him a savage, and would you criticize a society that tolerated him?

    Thought so.

  • bluejives

    Joker,

    I do not take issue with people decrying any act of injustice. I do take issue, with ‘enlightened’ whiteys like you, who delight in news of such despicable acts, so that you can play your tired role of the self-righteous white expat pointing fingers at the backward savages so that you can boost your own sense of worth. You have no love for Korea or its people.

  • aletheia

    What’s “backward when it comes to the treatment of women” is when a woman cannot walk down the street alone at night. When a female Korean student is off to the US to study that is the first thing I warn her about.

  • peppermint

    Enough about the rape stats and which country handles things better. I’m much more interested in what’s being done for these poor girls and if there’s anything I can do to help them.

    Why were there protests at Gwanghwamun though- is that where the national police force is centered too?

  • Anonymous

    Bluejives – I really don’t see what your beef is over this post. An injustice was done, I’m sorry injustices and I don’t see how the “enlightened whiteys” are painting Korean men and Korea as backward and bad. Its a problem with the Korean system and I’ve read plenty to know that this isn’t an isolated incident. It seems to me you would rather boast the image of a Korea, hidden under a mask to cover its ugliness. Fact is fact, and if you can’t handle it maybe you are doing more damage then the “enlightened whiteys” with your very ignorant response. How would you know if some people have no love for Korea? People like Bluejives, make Korea look bad.

  • R. Elgin

    . . . and for certain of you posters — straight from the mouth of one, real Korean Judge — currently, if an adult is caught having sex with a minor, the first time is a FINE and a WARNING, the second time comes jail time and the time would not be more than a few months. I do not know what the third time would bring.

    It is obvious that certain things are not taken that seriously here.

  • aletheia

    ” …if an adult is caught having sex with a minor…” That IS wrong, sure. But the accused here are also minors.

    While I often hear Koreans hypocritically accusing Americans of being obsessed with sex, I agree with Bluejives that all the piling-on accusations of Koreans as forever bumbling misogynists (What did you expect? ?€œHere is Korea.?€?–Brian) is equally based on stupidity.

  • Hanminjoke

    I’m just glad that bluejives and aletheia have the smarts to identify and criticize the REAL evil in Korea — which is anonymous white males posting on the internet — rather than focusing their time and efforts on small, insignificant things like systemic corruption and incompetence in the police force, adolescent gang rapists, rapists parents threatening victims, and Korean society’s general tolerance of the attitudes and values that lead to such ugliness.

    Keep fighting the good fight against the evil white male, my brothers! That little problem with gang raping of 13-year old girls will probably just take of itself.

    Or at the very least all those thousands of female politicians and judges in the Korean government and justice system will take care of it.

    Oh sorry, scratch that last paragraph.

  • aletheia

    FYI — I am an evil whitey, and a fairly conservative one at that. Absolutely no shame in that. I am just not in the business of “civilizing” other people or liberating their women.

  • http://www.oranckay.net/blog oranckay

    Ah yes, Marmot’s comments section is at it again.

    The very fact that this case is in the news at all is significant progress, hard to imagine only a few years ago.

  • http://blog.marmot.cc The Marmot

    “Ah yes, Marmot?€™s comments section is at it again.”

    Yes, I was a bit afraid things might get a bit, well, “heated” when I made this post.

    I would be extremely uncomfortable citing this incident as somehow indicative of the attitudes of Korean men toward women and sexual abuse. I think most people, regardless of sex, are going to be outraged by an incident like this. The fact that the crime was compounded by rather insensitive responses from both the local police and national media (read the link — in Korean, sorry — that I attached at the end of the post) may or may not be indicative of general attitudes, but to be frank, I have yet to draw a conclusion on this. Moreover, even if it did reveal an uncomfortable level acceptance of sexual abuse at a societal level, this would not mean that the problem was a strictly Korean issue. If we’d like to answer questions such as whether this incident reveals certain social attitudes and/or whether those attitudes are culturally specific, it’s going to take a more reasoned and well-researched discourse than simple recriminations regarding “Korean male savages” or “self-righteous white expats.” Of course, I don’t mean to criticize those who post comments on my blog — I am thankful for all those who take the time to comment on this site — but I think this incident does raise questions that could be addressed, but given the obvious sensitivity of the matter at hand, I’d prefer if the discussion went in a slightly more level-headed direction.

  • kimbob

    “rape is rampant in Korea and the police do nothing about it 99% of the time.” – kimchipig

    By all accounts that I have read, rape is under-reported in Korea. Having said that, you don’t help your case when you pull numbers out of the hat like that. I’m surprised nobody challenged your figures when everybody had a problem with aletheia’s.

    “Not only was he not charged with a crime, he wasn?€™t even fucking fired because the league
    accepted his explanation that she ?€œwasn?€™t playing well and talked back to him.?€?” – Hanminjoke

    That might have been the case 3 or 4 years ago (and I’m not familiar with this case) but things do improve. Case in point, women’s short track team – where the entire coaching staff was fired after they were found to have beaten the athletes. It shows that beatings like this are no longer tolerated, and whoever does this in the future will have to expect to get fired. That’s an improvement.

    “but it does equate to them having very little respect for Korean females.” – Hanminjoke

    Yes and no. Yes you are right, that is the sign of disrespect for women. But also it is relative. How much respect does American men give to American females when American females can’t even safely walk down the street at night without the much greater fear of getting raped / or really getting raped?

    “which is anonymous white males posting on the internet” – Hanminjoke

    Sometimes it’s not the criticism but the way you do it that ticks off people. For instance, look at your name, Hanminjoke. It sounds like you have a chip on your shoulders.

    “You have no love for Korea or its people.” – bluejives

    It’s kinda unrealistic to expect everyone to have a “love for Korea or its people”, wouldn’t you say? Don’t let the few rotten apples skew the fact that there are/have been a lot of good points made by the expats that post here.

  • kimbob

    Marmot, why can’t we edit our previews?

    After I click preview, and try to edit and preview again, I get a blank screen. Is it my browser (Mozilla)?

  • robert neff103

    Bluejives -
    Actually I am unsure how I achieved the dubious honor of being the biggest enlightened?€™ white male expat on your list. I exercise, I watch what I eat – but the pounds just keep adding up. I would think that your mother taught you manners and would have instructed you that it is wrong to make fun of fat…… wait a second, that is not what you meant – is it?

    I don’t feel that I am one of these enlightened whities as you so racially title me (which makes me wonder – are you one of these enlightened [add you favorite racial slur). I write as I see it – regardless of who is right or wrong. The particular period that I study I generally find the British the biggest trouble-makers in Late Choson (sorry Brits)followed by the Americans. But then again you probably have never really read my material, because if you had, you would know that I wrote about a drunk American Minister, less than distinguished American missionaries, and extremely unthinkable acts by Americans hired by the Choson government. However, you, with your chip on your shoulder, have decided to just lash out because I am an American. May I direct your attention to a comment posted on The Korea Times by VoiceofCorea, does it sound familiar? -

    “We should not discuss bad things about Corea like this. Instead we should focus on USA and how bad the USA is. Corea is learning many bad things from USA. Its better we go back to the old ways of Chosun dynasty. The longest and greatest dynasty in the worlds history.”

    I think to sum this all up bluejives – get off of it – this isn’t about you and your personal beef with the rest of the world because you are so insecure (I think in your case and others, the term “superior inferiority complex” might be a good discription), but instead, this about a crime that was committed by a group of kids upon kids and compounded by the uncaringness of a few police officers.

    Bluejives – wishing you the best in YOUR little world
    Robert Neff

  • robert neff103

    aletheia,I am not faulting you for your numbers – we have seen this before – numbers can be manipulated to “prove” whatever we want them to prove. Like you, I am not in the civiling mode.

    For the people who want to make it a “Korea is better than the US” or vice-versa it is relatively easy to see that the United States has more than our share of problems. That police show on Friday, Special Crimes or something like that – which is basically about sex crimes. Unbelievable at times in what it depicts, but unfortunately, a lot of it based on fact. CSI, Cheaters, Springer Show, Oprah, everywhere there are shining examples of the problems that United States has. We know it and most of the world does too. Why is it though, that when someone reports something about Korea that isn’t flattering the person becomes a racist – or in the words of Bluejives an “enlightened whitie?” A lot of things have changed in Korea because of the publicity of the events – not necessarily in Western presses as evidenced by this last incident, but through the publicity it arouses the anger and indignation of the people (in this case Koreans) who end up making a change.

    Punishment for these boys – I fully agree with you that a police record will basically destroy their lives. But where in the world would this not matter? I think that we have to look and determine if they knew what they were doing was wrong – I think they probably did. In the late Choson era unmarried boys were treated like children and suffered light punishments while married boys (legal age of marriage was 14 but could be 12 if the boy was acting as the head of the household) were punished to the full extent of the law. Are these high school boys less competent than the boys of Choson period?

    United States has the same problem – what age is a child? If we can send them to war at 17 are they men/women? If so, why can’t they drink or vote? We entrust them to drive at the age of 15 1/2, the potential damage they can do with a vehicle is surreal, but we trust them because we know they are responsible. If one of them commits a crime at 15 like murder – should he be punished as an adult? What if he is 12? Britain is reviewing its age of consent – I think it is 15 or 16 now – does that mean they are adults?

    If a group of 30 year old men raped 5 girls (lets not make it girls – lets make it women in the late 20s) would we sentence them to jail, even though we know that it will leave a lasting criminal record on their otherwise spotless clean records? Some of them are even married and have their own children – does it matter to you when you are deciding if they should go to jail or not?

    What is the purpose of jail? I don’t believe it is there to rehabilitate, I believe it is there for punishment. A crime was committed, but by whom?

    Were these innocent children that committed a crime out of harmless adoloscent curiosity, were they just being boys? Or, are the alleged assailants young adults who, if allowed to skip by with a slight slap on the wrist, will continue to prey upon society in one form or another?

    Finally, if one of them was your daughter what would you want to do?

  • BP1403

    “Finally, if one of them was your daughter what would you want to do?”

    Critically important question. In order to help our children we must answer it. In order to answer it we must ask: why are kids raping kids stories in the news when they were unheard of 20, 40, 60 years ago? Better reporting is probably an answer, and I also think every generation has its share of depraved people – but theres a deeper question of morality here.

    When I was a kid, crazy sexaul escapades werent even imagined. There has been a cultural shift for the worse, powered by the rise of internet porn, increasingly whorish female role models (britney spears?), and probably a whole lot of other things.

    Now, before you accuse me of being a Fascist or a Censor, I want to just say that I am only pointing to a problem – not offering dystopian solutions to it. However, it is undeiable that something has shifted for the worse, and that shift is leading to an increase in ugly incidents like this one in the US, Korea, and a lot of other places too.

  • aletheia

    robert,

    As for what I think of rapists. I recall almost a year ago a guy was caught on video grabbing a girl. Later, they found her body behind a church. Well, for me, that guy should be put to death. He lost every single right as human being. He is no different than an animal.

    So the issue in this case is NOT what I think, but rather what Koreans think. This IS their country, not mine, not yours. Especially down in the provinces, the Law is a very flexible thing, and it is so for a good reason. Not because Koreans have Keystone Cops, but because they know that context of each case is different. Laws down there, it seems to me, are not metaphysical abstractions (as they are in the West). In a land where harmony and hierarchy is prefered over abstract ?€œright and wrong?€? you can?€™t apply the same rules to every case. Is it in the best interest of Miriyang to tear 70 kids from their parents for 10 years? Who said they?€™d get off with a slap on the wrist? I?€™ll bet there was plenty of shame to go around. For a Korean, that is no slap.

    Is the Korean system open for abuse? Perhaps we saw it in the GI case, but that doesn?€™t mean it is the wrong system or that Koreans are in the Dark Ages. This is why I saw ?€œBluejives?€? get so burned. One example of the cops dropping the ball, coupled with someones personal observation and Koreans are painted like backwards idiots?€“who need our civil guidance. That is prejudice, and it goes both ways.

    Whether my numbers are inflated or not is also beside the point. It is worth repeating: American women cannot walk alone at night?€“-enough said.

  • robert neff103

    aletheia, perhaps the mistake was mine in writing you. The “you” was meant as the reader – not specifically you, so that is my mistake – lack of clarity.

    I have lived in Korea half of my life so I have some understanding of this ‘shame’ that you speak of, and I agree that it is powerful.

    However – I think you are missing a very important thing – and it is evident in your writing “kids.”

    I gave you examples, using Korean history, about what a kid is or isn’t. Are these kids? How old are they? Third year (seniors) would mean they are maybe 18 years old. Are they children? Define for me what you believe a child is. What do Koreans believe a child is?

    As to women being unable to walk the streets at night. I agree with you, hell, in the United States I don’t walk the streets at night. But I am sure that you could say the same for many countries. In fact, lets speak about Korea. Do you know that during the Choson period there was a curfew from 8 p.m.(winter) 9 p.m. (summer) until 1 in the morning that men were not allowed on the streets, only women (exception being blind men, court officials and people going for medication). Crimes against women were often committed during this time. There were a number of rapes.

    To get to your point about this being Korea – yes, this is Korea, and it is Korea’s responsibility and right to deal with this in its own way. I don’t believe anyone has questioned that. If we go by what you say – then the mob mentality that is showing itself on the internet in which people (Koreans) want to go down and lynch the boys is perfectly correct and justified. Will you agree with that? Personally, I have no problem with it – it is purely a Korean internal problem. I don’t think it would be beneficial to Korea to resort to or allow this type of justice to go into effect (something like Mexico is doing now with vigilante justice), but it is Korea’s right.

    In the late Choson period – if a girl/woman was seen or touched by a stranger (Korean or foreign) then the girl could be killed by her father or brothers for bringing shame to the family. Women were segregated and kept to the rear of the house, unseen, by the outside world. If a man was going to repair his house then he notified his neighbors so that they could keep their women inside – out of side. There was a Korean that worked for the French Legation in 1886 (I have to check the date – but I think it was 1886) – he was probably a young man – probably no more than mid-twenties. He was caught peeking over the wall of a nobleman’s estate into the women’s compound. The nobleman wanted to have him severely punished (death?) but the French minister intervened.

    Why did these students commit this crime? Did they do it because they were “just boys being boys?” Did they do it out of peer pressure and the fear of becoming Wangtta if they did not participate? We know that peer pressure in Korea is very powerful but how powerful is it? Does it justify criminal acts? These should be some of the questions people are asking themselves.

    Please understand – I am not advocating anything. I don’t know how these students should be punished. I agree with you that an arrest will damage them their whole life, but so will the shame that you mention. Isn’t one of the purposes of the penal system to protect society – is society protected by having them back on the streets? Allowing them back on the streets, will they have the opportunity to exact the revenge that they have sworn to have on their victims? Does placing them in jail serve a purpose? Should they be given to the mob and allow mob-justice? How about mental institutes? Did the acts they performed indicate mental health problems? Should they be hospitalized – and if so, for how long?
    If they are allowed to return to school will they be able to adjust or will they be shunned by their peers? Will they be welcomed back as if they were conquering heroes?

    What about the girls? What about their freedom, their right to see justice done? Speaking of the girls – do we know their full stories? As ass-like as it might sound – what is their responsibility (at least the first girl) in this incident? There are always two sides to a story and so far we have only heard theirs (partially).

    As to the key-stone cop reference – I don’t believe I made that reference. Everything that I mentioned in my article came from the local Korean newspapers – English and Korean language. Are you suggesting that it is ok for them to print the facts about the policemen and their actions, but for a non-Korean that is racism? Take everything and evaluate it, and balance it.

    Finally, “harmony and hierarchy is prefered over abstract ?€œright and wrong?€?” What exactly do you mean by this? The Land of the Morning Calm is not exactly a fitting name for the late Choson period. Look into it – I am sure that you will eventually have to agree. But to be honest, every country is the same – violence, dishonesty, and constant change.

  • robert neff103

    aletheia
    One more thing – where do you come up with the age 16? From my understanding a great number of these students were ?³?3 (seniors – February is graduation month) and that means they are not 16 but are 17 or 18 years old. I could be wrong.

  • bluejives

    “I am thankful for all those who take the time to comment on this site ?€“ but I think this incident does raise questions that could be addressed, but given the obvious sensitivity of the matter at hand, I?€™d prefer if the discussion went in a slightly more level-headed direction.”

    THANK YOU, Marmot.

    Robert Neff, take a real good look at some of the comments that you and your colleagues have written.

    I was always a bit suspicious when the Korean media put Yonsama from Winter Sonata forward as the prime example of the modern-day Korean male, but now I?€™m a believer!

    Never again will I argue with the Japanese housewives in my neighborhood when they regale me with tales of the dead-accurate depiction of Korean men in that wonderfully realistic drama. So true. So true.
    - hanminjoke

    “Alethia?€™s ?€œstatistics?€? look pretty familiar ?€“ they seem to have come from the same ?€œwomen?€™s studies?€? cabal that infested our law school. God, what a bunch of totalitarian pinheads.”

    “It?€™s in this last area that Korea?€™s patriarchy tragically lets its daughters down. ”
    - Brenden Carr

    “Marmot I am glad you finally did this article – I was a little disappointed Sunday when I didn?€™t see it on your Blog.

    It is nice to know there are some things in the Land of the Morning Calm I know will never change”
    -You

    First of all, what the hell does Yonsama and the Winter Sonata have to do with this?

    Secondly, why is it that when a heinous sexist crime occurs in Korea, it is attributed to ‘Korea’s patriarchy letting its daughters down’ but when someone mentions the equally disturbing sex crime statistics of the US, it gets dismissed as the work of overzealous feminists??? Hmmmm, do I sense a bit of double standard bordering on hypocrisy here?

    And then there’s you robertneff. Disappointed? Why? Because you thought you would miss out on a chance to detail all the dirty little secrets you’ve discovered in Korea? What a busybody you are. Frankly, I am not obesessed with rapes, or the hormonal-driven interactions of adolescents in internet rooms, orgies, or what goes on in certain kinds or ‘meetings’. But I suppose your unique tastes may run different.What you choose to do with your free time is your business.

    Although I find it real strange that self-styled social commentators like yourself, are suddenly SO concerned about sexism and ‘justice for women’ while in Korea, when in all likelihood you didnt give a damn about such things back when you were just another ordinary white dude back in the States.

    You dont like it when I call you a self-righteous ‘enlightened’ finger-pointing whitey with all the connotations entailed with that, correct?

    You are outraged about what happened in Miryang? I am outraged because Korea is my Mother country and the stupid cops seem to have fucked up and whenever it seems there is a possibility of a miscarriage of justice, I get anxious. Tell me something, not just you, but all the usual suspects that I’ve called out. Were you equally outraged back when white cops violated the rights and human dignity of a certain African immigrant named Abner Louima by shoving broomsticks up his rectum? Are you equally outraged by racial profiling that is practiced by white cops back here in the good ole US of A?

    I thought so.

    Spare me all your little snotty snide remarks and sarcastic comments about Korea OK? I love my Mother Country and its people and I will not let such remarks slide by so easily.

  • robert neff103

    Well – in response to your comments bluejives:
    “Were you equally outraged back when white cops violated the rights and human dignity of a certain African immigrant named Abner Louima by shoving broomsticks up his rectum?”

    Absolutely – just as I was shocked and in total disgust over the dragging/murder in Texas of an American by a group of white racist. There are so many of these incidents that it is nearly impossible to count. Does it happen in the United States – damn right, and we know that it happens around the world in every country including your motherland.

    Am I angered by racial profiling – sure, and we have already discussed this issue in another area of the board.

    I do find it hard to imagine that you are calling me a racist when we examine your language.

    Lets see – when I was just an ordinary white guy back in the United States – did I care? I was 17 or 18 years old. I think I cared just as much as the other person. See, I did one thing that I always wanted to do as a child – I went and visited different countries and learned about different cultures. Don’t always agree with them (the cultures) but that is not really my concern. I take from them what I want (meaning cultures) and add them to my own – that is what makes the USA special – the mixture of cultures that come to form our own.

    You said “Frankly, I am not obesessed with rapes, or the hormonal-driven interactions of adolescents in internet rooms, orgies, or what goes on in certain kinds or ?€?meetings?€™.” Don’t you think that is part of the problem – people aren’t concerned. So many of the problems that we are facing in the United States, Japan, and Korea is because people aren’t concerned. Where do you fall in this at?

    As to the disappointment about this not being posted. May I remind you that Marmot’s Hole is one of the largest and most read Blogs on Korea – it would be a shame not to have an issue that is so hot in Korea right now not on the Blog for people to read who have an interest in Korea. Are you advocating that we (Marmot or any other Blogger) not post it because it shows a negative event within Korea? Sounds a little hipocritical doesn’t it?

    I wrote
    “It is nice to know there are some things in the Land of the Morning Calm I know will never change.?€?
    Well considering the first incident that I mentioned happened about ten years ago and the Korean court system seems to have maintained the same system – I would say that it was a fair (somewhat cynical) statement. It is pretty much the same type of thing that I see in the late 1890s in Choson (Korea), can you dispute this?

    As to the case of Abner Louima, would you have been offended if I said that the brutality of some of the members of the police force towards African immigrants is nothing more than a step backwards to an era before the civil war? I don’t think it would – and to be honest, I think it does seem like that, especially if justice wasn’t done. The policemen who did that were animals that deserved to be punished, more severely than a normal person because they violated the trust that was given to them by the people.

    As to my “colleagues,” their comments are their own. I don’t always agree with them, some I don’t understand, while others I do.

    I will say this though – racial slurs usually are an indication of the man/woman: closed minded, childish and immature, insecure, and in many cases uneducated.

    As always – wishing you the best in your own SMALL little world.
    Robert Neff

  • robert neff103

    Bluejives -
    Other than the fact that I am white I am unsure why you and I are arguing – looking back at this post

    “When I was in Korea, in Miryang 10 years ago, this sort of event would have been unheard of. And what?€™s with this pissing contest about who has a worse record in rape statistics? Unreported rape doesn?€™t happen in the US as well? My current girlfriend, a girl who grew up in South Jersey, was raped by some strange psycho she met at a beach back in high school. Guess what? She and her friends didnt report it to the police despite the fact that he was threatening them. Rape is a very tricky. Another thing, when her parents found out, her parents, especially her father, treated it as if it was her fault that it happened.”

    I can’t disagree with a word you said. 10 years ago I don’t believe this type of incident would have happened – in fact 10 years ago I thought Korean students were the nicest kids in the world – innocent in everything they did.

    Rape – very tricky thing. I know from family experience and not all rapes are reported – partially for the reason you said. The victim is thought to have brought it onto themselves. Isn’t that the problem with this incident too, the police officer said that she basically brought it on to herself.

    Other than being white – I think we are basically on the same sheet of the music at least part of the time.

    Again wishing you the best
    Robert Neff

  • dbc

    Robert Neff, I highly doubt that VoiceofCorea is Korean.

  • http://www.oranckay.net/blog oranckay

    Mr Neff comment: “…if a girl/woman was seen or touched by a stranger (Korean or foreign) then the girl could be killed by her father or brothers for bringing shame to the family.”

    Hmmm. You learn something new every day.

    I know that Hamel (the 17th century one) claims to know something about that in his book but I’m wondering what you mean by “could be.” Do you mean to say that it was legal, that it it was something that might happen as a possibility, that a westerner claimed that it was widespread, or something else?

    The “memoir” Ten Thousand Sorrows claimed that “honor killings” of that sort were a time-honored regular part of Korean culture, but the author and publisher backtracked on that assertion after an international online outcry from Korean studies scholars around the world, most of whom claimed that while it was certainly possible a woman might be killed for hurting her family’s reputation through improper sexual activity, it was by no means common practice or widely accepted.

    Any suggestion that death was a constant possibility for merely being “seen or touched by a stranger” would seem utterly absurd to me. Everything is always “possible,” however, so I guess it comes down to what you mean by “could.”

  • http://www.oranckay.net/blog oranckay

    backpedaled, not backtracked in:

    the author and publisher backtracked on that assertion after an international online outcry from Korean studies scholars around the world,

    Sorry.

  • Paul H.

    1) “Marmot, why can?€™t we edit our previews?
    After I click preview, and try to edit and preview again, I get a blank screen. Is it my browser (Mozilla)? –Comment by kimbob”

    Kimbob: same thing happens to me, even though I type in the number letter combo. (I use an old AOL version — whatever browser is standard with 7.0).

    2) “When I was a kid, crazy sexual escapades weren’t even imagined. There has been a cultural shift for the worse, powered by the rise of internet porn, increasingly whorish female role models (britney spears?), and probably a whole lot of other things. — Comment by BP1403″.

    Amen. These kids are no doubt inspired by what they have learned from the internet and easily obtained videos. I think you can thank Hugh Hefner and the Playboy philosophy. The ramifications of what he started have gone worldwide (and far beyond) what he ever imagined it would. He’s proud of his accomplishments, of course, and sits in his mansion with his “stable”, shaking his head ruefully over how things have developed. He won’t take responsibility for incidents like this, but if he were privy to this discussion he would no doubt be quite philosophic about it as he calmly puffs his pipe.

    I think my point is supported by a trend in this thread — the US vs ROK comparison. No one has even mentioned another possible sociological comparison — ROK to a comparable slice of “normal” NorK society, i.e. NorK citizens in reasonably good health and standing with their government. (I exempt rural starving peasants or inhabitants of the NorK “gulag” — rape is probably the least of their worries).

    I ask out of genuine curiosity to see what you Korea-experienced posters and residents think — not as a “snarky white guy” trying to make a point. Do you suppose incidents like this Miryang one could ever happen in a similar type community in NorK, one that’s basically cut off from Western influences?

  • robert neff103

    Oranckay -
    I believe that it was Dallet – which would mean that he was using the French and Japanese sources. I will have to recheck it. If you want I can post the source here or email it to you. I don’t believe that it was a law per-se, and I am not sure how prevalent it was, I do know that it is mentioned. I think Huntley also mentions it in her book, but she uses primarily missionary accounts. To be honest – I am not sure how often it happened. I know that I read an account in the 1890s that in a fire a maid did not save her mistress because a fireman had inadvertantly touched her (the mistress) and that she was no longer worth saving because of that touch.

    As to the point about the North Koreans by Paul. Good point but looking at the Soviet Union there were many sex crimes including that cannibal. I am not sure that the open Western culture is without some blame but I also believe that this excuse has been used over and over. Remember the young man that studied in the United States and gambled and partied all of his money away and returned to Korea and murdered and then burned his parents – he said he learned it on tv and the Korean media harped on it for quite sometime. I think that is one of our (meaning all countries) big problems – people trying to shift the blame, claiming it was this or that that caused them to do something. These 18 year olds need to be punished.

    dbc – I am not sure if VoiceofCorea is Korean or not. You can check out the posting on the Korea Times page. To be honest I hope VoiceofCorea is not Korean but instead that same idiot that posted the obscene comment about the young woman’s article (grandmother’s gloves). I wish that people were required to stand behind their comments – like I always say – if it is worth your time to type it out – claim it.

  • kimbob

    ” The victim is thought to have brought it onto themselves. Isn?€™t that the problem with this incident too, the police officer said that she basically brought it on to herself.” – neff103

    Ah.. but that’s one person’s lack of education. The public outcry shows it’s not a publicly accepted form of practice to blame the rape victim. For anything, it just shows lack of sensitivity and lack of training within the police department(s) regarding sexual crimes and female sexual victims. Also, try to look at where this policeman is coming from. I’m not saying what he said was right, but I can see where his conclusions about the girls gets generated.

    The raped girls were reported to have been raped for over a year. Not only they did not report the abuses, they reportedly voluntarily called the boys up for “dates”. How is that possible? If they were suffering much abuse, would the girls not have reported the abuses much sooner? Of course I’m not saying that this is true at all, merely saying that there is another possiblity and another side of the story that may exist – that these girls were part of the gang, enjoying being part of the “crowd”, and cried foul when they got caught, trying to advert accusations that they were sluts (this, in a society that have tremendous prejudices against “loose” women).

  • robert neff103

    Kimbob – wish you had added this part of my quote to the above -

    “As ass-like as it might sound – what is their responsibility (at least the first girl) in this incident? There are always two sides to a story and so far we have only heard theirs (partially).”

  • http://timurileng.blogspot.com Zhang Fei

    bluejives: Were you equally outraged back when white cops violated the rights and human dignity of a certain African immigrant named Abner Louima by shoving broomsticks up his rectum?

    But of course. Note I’m not the only person outraged – the rest of New York City also was, such that (1) the *illegal* black immigrant Abner Louima not only did not get deported, he received millions of dollars as a settlement from the city and (2) the people responsible received more than a decade in jail. If the victims in these rapes had been illegal black immigrants, would they have received millions of dollars, combined with jail sentences for the Korean perpetrators? Or would they have been quietly deported?

  • slim

    Could Bluejives be the latest avatar of Shin Jong Il? I see scarily similar logic, hang-ups and hatreds.

  • bluejives

    robertneff103,

    I’m not out to pick on you simply for the sake of picking on you. Remember that hilarious piece you wrote at the expense of some obnoxious freeloading Korean ajuma in the airplane you wrote a while back? The one that you and other fellow like-minded white expats had a collective chuckle over? It’s so easy for Westerners from the land of plenty to ridicule the idiosyncratic behavior of those of lesser developed nations for whom the memories of poverty and hunger still stings like it was yesterday. If it was wrong of me to criticize you for the ajuma story then I suppose you wouldnt mind if I wrote a juicy satire about the self-righteous, self-important white expat who comes to Korea to teach English to escape his loser existence back home. Oh what’s that? You dont think that would be funny? Oh why not? Satire and parody works best when used against those with a certain sense of entitlement, priviledge, and self righteous importance based upon universally understood racial power dynamics.

    Wishing YOU the best in your white-centric, one-sided world.

  • ?Œ¿

    Proposition 1 – All white people are bad, or tend to be bad.
    Proposition 2 – All expats are white.
    Proposition 3 – Expats come from the US.
    Proposition 4 – All expats in Korea are stupid.

    Therefore, white people in Korea are both stupid and bad. There is no possible way they could comprehend anything about Korea. Accordingly, no expat may criticize any aspect of Korea in any way.

    A consistent refrain among certain people comes in response to (assumed) expat criticism of or commentary on Korea. It runs something like this:

    “Well, you obviously hate Korea, so why don’t you just leave? Go back to sleeping under a bridge in the US!”

    So bluejives, you say “I love my Mother Country and its people…” I’d like to ask then, in the spirit of your own commentary, why you’re not there? You’d run into far fewer “Caucasians,” that’s for sure.

  • bluejives

    hey, let me explain something very basic to you, ok? if something like a serial rape happened in the US, i dont go around blaming it upon the ‘patriarchy’ and ‘male chauvinism’ of US white male, aight? the Columbine school massacre, i dont go around implying that it was due to some intrinsic fault of the American system, to which ALL Americans are beholden to, and therefore guilty by association. the Jeffery Dahmer serial killer case, I dont go around implying that since Dahmer is of German-American heritage, that there must be something seriously fucked up about German-Americans in general. Aight? White people enjoy the priviledge of individuality in loads and bounds. If one of them commits a serious crime, then it is that person and that individual only who is responsible for that crime. White people as a whole arent held accountable for the acts of that one crazy individual. On the other hand, if an asian or any other minority commits some kind of crime, then somehow its a reflection on asians as a whole. Do you understand this sociological phenomenon which is a real and proven fact in society? Or is it too complex and subtle for you, Because if it is then please refrain from issuing more ignorant statements.

  • skynard

    bluejives, i’m sure i would laugh just as much at your story about a pathetic whitey teaching in korea as i would about some freeloading ajuma – please, write it!
    other than that, be careful or you will start walking with a limp because of such a heavy chip on your shoulder.
    now this case really stinks of shit in general. the boys – find the leaders and punish them with jail – the rest should have to pay financially crippling amounts of money to the girls families. the cops should lose their jobs instead of just being transferred.
    but what if the girls really were calling up the boys during the year and meeting them voluntarily? it wouldn’t be the first time someone lied about rape.

  • http://blog.marmot.cc The Marmot

    bluejives, i?€™m sure i would laugh just as much at your story about a pathetic whitey teaching in korea as i would about some freeloading ajuma – please, write it!

    Hey, that’s what I got my “Stupid Foreigners Tricks” section for! :)

  • dogbert

    Leftist sociological constructs are not “real and proven facts”, sorry.

  • http://lol Mizar5

    “What?€™s ?€œbackward when it comes to the treatment of women?€? is when a woman cannot walk down the street alone at night.”

    aletheia, that is what is known as a “red herring” argument – throwing an irrelevent assertion to divert attention from the real issue.

    Secondly, it is an example of a “sweeping assumption” which bases a generalization on a faulty or limited sample. It is not in fact true that a woman cannot walk alone down the street at night in the US. Even if this is true of certain areas of a country, it cannot be used to characterize an entire nation.

    There is crime throughout the world. Numerous cultural and environmental factors can render it meaningless to compare crime rates in different parts of the world. Human nature is human nature.

    The effects of culture, however, might be noted. For instance, the fact that 41 to 70 boys were involved here might lead one to comment on how koreans act as groups rather than individuals, and so forth. However, to use such miserable examples of human behavior as fodder for triumphalism and jingoism would be improper.

  • http://lol Mizar5

    “Do you suppose incidents like this Miryang one could ever happen in a similar type community in NorK, one that?€™s basically cut off from Western influences?”

    Paul, rape has occurred with great frequency in societies basically cut off from Western influences, imperial Japan being a case in point. There are serious problems with the foreign cultural influence myth, not the least of which is that it tends to scapegoat others for our crimes.

    Another misnomer – Korea is far from “Westernized” despite its piecemeal adoptation of overseas cultural elements. There is an important distinction between Korean benchmarking and reverse engineering and “Westernization”. Koreans still have very little direct exposure to Western culture. Few Koreans have any significant experience interacting with foreigners, including Korean emmigrants living in Korean communities overseas.

    One has to stop making meaningless East vs. West comparisons here in order to deal with the issues themselves.

  • Juggertha

    Interesting discussion guys but i’m going to try to vere it in a different direction.

    It’s been noted a few times about the Police and their apparent proficiency at screwing up. When it comes to a rape case it seems that they did everything wrong. I am told “they did not follow proceedures” and that they knew what they should do but simply ignored it.

    I remember more than a few instances where I have been baffled by police actions (and yes AT HOME TOO). Do you guys remember the cop killer that was hiding out in the grandmothers Apt. last year? How the cops came in a blazin’ and ringing bells?? Man, I heard the promisses of refor and regret but I reallt wonder, has anything changed?

    I know this was a “provincial town” and maybe doesn’t represent the best the naion has to offer in was of policing but seriously, what are they going to do about it?

    i really hope that this spurs on some type of reform within the greater korean police administration. I would like to see a day where Korean police officers are respected for a job well done.

  • http://lol Mizar5

    “White people as a whole arent held accountable for the acts of that one crazy individual. On the other hand, if an asian or any other minority commits some kind of crime, then somehow its a reflection on asians as a whole.”

    It seems you are being overly sensitive here. No one is suggesting that a person’s race is the cause of crime here. Nor is a double standard bordering on hypocrisy being advocated. My analysis is that what is being voiced here is simply backlash against the Korean media’s consistent pro-Korean “minjok” bias.

    I certainly understand how hurtrul such ineloquent expressions of frustration can be, however.

  • Zdunk

    ?€œWhite people enjoy the priviledge of individuality in loads and bounds. If one of them commits a serious crime, then it is that person and that individual only who is responsible for that crime. White people as a whole arent held accountable for the acts of that one crazy individual. On the other hand, if an asian or any other minority commits some kind of crime, then somehow its a reflection on asians as a whole?€?

    Mssr Bluejives, as I read this I felt this deep sense of understanding?€?and suddenly I realized why! Dude, over here it is just the same, except with the skin colors reversed! To the average Mr. Choi, a rowdy drunken Korean is a ?€œcrazy man”, but a rowdy drunken non-Korean is living proof of the violent and degraded nature of blacks or whites.

    Another snark: it?€™s kind of a joke you fancying that you stand in proud allegiance with the blacks of America. Cause I know lots of them, bud, and they CAN?€™T STAND YOU more than they dislike guys like me (European). And my black buddies over here have the worst stories of us all, and would love to bump into the type of ?€?angry Korean male?€™ that you represent and who torments them here on an almost daily basis.

    That said, I agree with the core of what you are saying: this is a small town crime mini-tragedy, and shouldn?€™t be overplayed into a grand national indictment of evil. The outcry of the Korean public should really be more acknowledged on this board.

  • aletheia

    Robert Neff: I appreciate your comments. Peace.

  • http://polymath.tblog.com PolyMath

    How is it that the comments section inevitably degrades into a US vs. Korea arguement? I think its plain to anyone that the Korean justice system and police blame the victims and go easy on rapists (oh, excuse me, accused rapists).

    Anyhow- hope you guys are enjoying yourselves. I can’t believe I am actually still interested in blogs and news whilst in Iraq. *sigh*

  • Brendon Carr

    Koreans still have very little direct exposure to Western culture. Few Koreans have any significant experience interacting with foreigners, including Korean emmigrants living in Korean communities overseas.
    Do you own a television? Television is one very direct, very powerful interaction with Western culture — a “hot beef injection”, if you will, of Western (specifically, American coastal elites’) values directly into the brains of viewers. Every Korean with a television gets exposed to our culture on a pretty regular basis. On cable, most of the shows aren’t even dubbed into Korean — it’s English-language audio (sometimes German) with subtitles.

  • http://lol Mizar5

    “Do you own a television? Television is one very direct, very powerful interaction with Western culture ?€“ a ?€œhot beef injection”, if you will, of Western (specifically, American coastal elites?€™) values directly into the brains of viewers.”

    Hollywood and TV project elaborate fantasy – highly controlled and unrealistic scenarios.

    I asked a Korean friend, for instance, if he thought all American women were like the protagonists in “Sex and the City”. His response was, “Aren’t they?”

    The point is that Koreans often judge Americans by highly controlled depictions obtained from the media – Korean and American – which has much to do with stereotypes, wishful dreamscapes, false values but little to do with the day-to-day reality of ordinary life. The expression “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” warns about the dangers of the “hasty generalization” – drawing conclusions from unrepresentative, even distorted samples.

    One interesting treatment of this phenomenon was the book “Being There” by Jerzy Kozinski, which depicts a character who was raised in seclusion, watching TV rather than interacting with other human beings. A total idiot, het was mistaken for a savant because he could parrot soundbites.

  • skynard

    bluejives, your capacity for exaggeration is really fantastic. how did you get that there are “pick up trucks sporting big bumper stickers” when the true quote was, “the area where the six slain hunters lived, one woman said she saw a bumper sticker that read: “Save a deer, shoot a Hmong.” how do know it wasn’t small and on the back of a kia?

  • bluejives

    AMERICANS ANNOYED BY “ALL THIS INTERNATIONAL SHIT” ON INTERNET
    Web’s Increasingly Worldly Flavor Threatens Americans’ Worldview

    PULLMAN, WASH ?€” The profusion of international news available on the Internet has made it increasingly difficult for the average American to ignore the rest of the world, a trend researchers say threatens Americans’ long, proud history of disregarding anything not about them.

    “With all the foreign newspapers and multi-cultural sites, the Internet is making it almost impossible for the average American to remain uninformed and apathetic,” said Samantha Lessborn of Washington State University, which conducted the survey. “Americans can still do it. But it now takes effort, whereas before it was as easy as turning off Tom Brokaw whenever he said ‘In South Korea today…’”

    According to survey participant Danny Grisham, a 22-year-old from Cheyenne, Wyoming, it’s not just the plethora of international news on the Web that is irritating. “Look, I can get around the news. I just turn off Reuters headlines in MyYahoo,” he said. “But even some of the search sites like Yahoo and Alta Vista are available in different languages. Like everybody in the world doesn’t speak English. Yeah, right.”

    “I can see where it’s important if we’re, like, beating some country in the Olympics or bombing them or, ideally, both,” Grisham added. “But if some Colombian drug lord sinks a ferry full of Israeli soldiers in North Latvoania or Serbo-Malaysia, or wherever, and Americans aren’t involved, what has that got to do with me?”

    Other respondents said they were appalled, not just by the availability of non-U.S. news, but by the way important U.S. news is reported by some of these foreign sites. “Yesterday, for instance, the St. Louis Rams beat the Atlanta Falcons, OK, and I go to the London Times site and it’s not even there,” said Chip Pernadge of Kansas City, Mo. “Jesus, no wonder those guys lost the war and had to give Hong Kong back to Canada.”

    Sensing a market opportunity, Net Nanny, makers of Net Nanny filtering software, announced this week it will introduce NetNarrow, an English-only product that automatically filters out content that appears to be international. Specifically, the software looks for world datelines and keywords indicative of irrelevant foreign stories, including “Shiite,” “post-Apartheid,” and “Bob Geldof.”

    Survey-taker Craig Barker of Brooklyn, New York, said he will be among the first to get NetNarrow. “On the Web, there are so many ways to get news from so many different places, I could really get some fresh insights into what’s going on in other countries if I wanted to,” he said.. “But I don’t want to.”

    “You’d think these Internet people would know that,” Barker added. “I mean, that’s why the Internet is called America Online, right? It’s supposed to be about America.”

  • bluejives

    Leftist sociological constructs are not ?€œreal and proven facts”, sorry.

    Comment by dogbert

    Do you know who the Hmong people are? Probably not. The Hmong are a group of people from Laos that the US government enlisted during the Vietnam War to wage guerilla warfare against the Vietcong. There is currently a community of about 20,000 Hmong living in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

    Now imagine you are a Hmong man out hunting deer in the woods last month. You lose your way and wander by mistake onto private land. You find yourself surrounded by 8 or 9 white angry hunters, one of whom is confronting you about trespassing. Angry words are exchanged, a racial slur or two are thrown in for good measure. One of the white hunters tells you to ‘go back to your own country’ despite the fact that you are a naturalized US citizen and have served in the National Guard. As you walk away, one of them raises his rifle and fires a shot in your direction. A warning shot or a missed fire? You dont know. You arm your own rifle….

    Subsequently you are being held as a suspect by law enforcement to go on trial for the murder of 6 and wounding 2. It turns out the people you killed were ‘good, upstanding, reputable’ members of the community. Meanwhile the Hmong community is fearful of reprisals for the actions of one lone Hmong. There are pickup trucks around town sporting big bumper stickers that say ‘Save a deer – Kill a Hmong’.

    A leftist sociological construct?

  • skynard

    bluejives, that story about americans not wanting to read any international news – you got that from the “onion”, didn’t you? yeah, – funny stuff on that website – you do know it’s not real, right?
    and about the hmong hunter (and yes, i’m sure a lot of people do know about them), his story contradicts all the other people’s story. and even if his was true, did he really need to chase people down and shoot them in the back? and about those bumber stickers – in this case, seeing is definitely believing – so until i actualy see one, i’d say you or somebody else is making that up – maybe you also saw that on the “onion”!

  • bluejives

    “Another snark: it?€™s kind of a joke you fancying that you stand in proud allegiance with the blacks of America. Cause I know lots of them, bud, and they CAN?€™T STAND YOU more than they dislike guys like me (European). And my black buddies over here have the worst stories of us all, and would love to bump into the type of ?€?angry Korean male?€™ that you represent and who torments them here on an almost daily basis.”

    Comment by Zdunk

    Ah yes. There is a temptation in the world to “become white” that lures Asians to scapegoat blacks or Blacks to rant on Asians as a kind of way of auditioning for ‘acceptance’ with a white audience.

    As a person of Korean heritage living as a minority in America, with a heightened sense of social awareness, I find that to be the most despicable practice for which those who engage in it should be slapped around silly with rhetorical torture. But when I have calmed down somewhat, I must also consider, what powerful group of people has influenced society such that minority or non-white folks feel compelled to behave this way?

  • bluejives

    and about the hmong hunter (and yes, i?€™m sure a lot of people do know about them), his story contradicts all the other people?€™s story. and even if his was true, did he really need to chase people down and shoot them in the back? and about those bumber stickers – in this case, seeing is definitely believing – so until i actualy see one, i?€™d say you or somebody else is making that up – maybe you also saw that on the ?€œonion”!

    Comment by skynard

    Sorry, I’m not making it up.

    http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/1204/193861.html

  • lirelou

    Bluejives.

    Some of us out here actually knew the H’mong, as well as the Muong, Nung, Thai, Tho, Rhade, Jarai, Raglai, Koho, Bahnar, Sedang, Halang, Rengao, Stieng, Jeh and Katu. In fact, some of us knew them pretty well. Well enough to realize that we had not only enlisted them in “our war”, but that they had every intention of enlisting us in theirs.

    I was surprised, upon my return from Southeast Asia, when I entered university, that these people were viewed as primitive pastoralists living in some idealized form of early communism. Innocents from a perfect earlier age, when men committed no crimes and everyone worked together for the common good. I was told this in several anthropology classes by earnest teachers who had memorized Margaret Meade’s pap from cover to cover.

    At first I was quite popular among these teachers. i could get dressed up in my loincloth and tribal shirts, wearing all my spirit bracelets and Sedang silver necklace, carrying my “coup-coup” Ede and Crossbow, and with photos and slides now long faded, describe life among several of these peoples. I got more points if I discussed the matriarchal, matrilineal, matrilocal groups. They really loved the idea that there were “noble savages” out there, slashing and burning the rain forests of the world, which needed to be protected from predatory international corporations so that such people’s would always have forests to slash and burn.

    It was only when I started giving evidence of wars, and crimes, and feuds, and other unacceptable social behaviour among either the groups or members of these groups that my audiences or professors became uneasy. They were always anxious to find some explanation for this “aberration”. Perhaps the French? or the Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian, or Lao governments? Maybe the Chinese?

    The idea that all these groups might really just be composed of ordinary human beings. Different, but otherwise pretty much the same as the rest of us, with all the good and bad apples that any other human group produces, was simply abhorrent.

    It was like suggesting in Korea that some Koreans might have actually been involved in the murder of Queen Min, and worse, they might have had common human motivating reasons for doing so.

    ps. I actually like some of your posts. I believe that they evidence a wry sense of humour.

  • ?Œ¿

    8 minutes should be about right…

    Ah, now I see, I was obviously wrong. I was completely mistaken in thinking blujives thinks white people are bad, or tend to be bad (“…what powerful group of people has influenced society such that minority or non-white folks feel compelled to behave this way?”)

    Moreover, it’s abundantly clear that he doesn’t think expats are all whites who come from the US (“…?€?enlightened?€™ whiteys like you, who delight in news of such despicable acts, so that you can play your tired role of the self-righteous white expat pointing fingers at the backward savages so that you can boost your own sense of worth.”)

    Now, I can’t possibly understand, even in the simplest way, how I could’ve imagined bluejives thought expats were stupid and bad (“…I find it real strange that self-styled social commentators like yourself, are suddenly SO concerned about sexism and ?€?justice for women?€™ while in Korea, when in all likelihood you didnt give a damn about such things back when you were just another ordinary white dude back in the States.”)

    And I know that bluejives doesn’t think all white people are stupid and ignorant (“…replete with unfamiliar, Caucasian olfactory sense offending Korean cuisine like daeng-jang chigae…”)

    And it’s also unutterably clear that bluejives has no sort of fixation on race, given his many posts that don’t mention race at all, such as…well, hm, I’m sure there’s one somewhere.

    Yes, it’s all obvious now.

    Anyway there’s probably some validity to your contention that members of distinct groups (minorities or not) tend to be seen as representatives of those groups. Since this seems to be found everywhere in the world, though, it’s hard to accept it as a uniquely “Caucasian” invention.

    Even so, the incident (supposedly) under discussion didn’t take place in the US. It isn’t an example of a majority group attributing characteristics to a minority, unless you have a grossly inflated perception of the number of expats here, or you think that all the “Caucasians” in the world would think the same things about it.

    When the Columbine massacre happened, it drew commentary about American society not only from Americans (“Caucasian” and otherwise), but from people in other countries, as well it should have. There were probably even some “expats” in the US at the time who had some opinions about it. Now, I’m not saying that the Miryang incident and Columbine are the same sorts of things, but controversial or shocking incidents may have some connection to, or at least relevance for the societies in which the occur, right? Why is it that Korea is exempt from any sort of commentary except the purely positive?

    I wouldn’t presume to tell you how to think. Your hatreds are your own business, of course. But what do you think of expats who hate Korea and Koreans, and complain about them constantly, but never leave? We’ve all met them. True, you’re not an expat in the US, but does that matter (I’d hardly think you’d be comfortable calling yourself an American along with so many “Caucasians”)? Korea is a developed country. There really aren’t very many “Caucasians,” compared to other places in Asia. Why aren’t you there?

  • http://brendon.typepad.com Brendon Carr

    Ah yes. There is a temptation in the world to “become white” that lures Asians to scapegoat blacks or Blacks to rant on Asians as a kind of way of auditioning for ‘acceptance’ with a white audience.
    Wow. The White Man is really, really powerful. How great, then, to be white — to have immigrants and American-born Negroes shuckin’ and jivin’ all for my approval. And I’m so powerful, I’ve got people in Korea in my spell, causing them to use slurs like “black-ass” with each other to contemptuously describe Negroes and Africans.

  • Terri

    Hi all,

    I’ve been reading for awhile, and it’s my first comment.

    1. Brendon Carr:
    You think TV is a good way to learn about Western culture???? Are you for real??? My Korean cousin, now in the States for grad school, was shocked that there was racism in America. Her quote: “But they get along so well in the movies!”

    Another thing she found shocking after living here a couple of years was how involved American (white, black, Asian-American, etc.) fathers were in their kids’ lives. You can’t learn such cultural values from watching Friends!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. Aletheia: It may be that there is a higher rate of “reported” rapes in the US, but you should know that rapes in Korea are grossly underreported. You CANNOT use these government statistics to compare incidences of rape across countries.

    About not being able to walk alone at night: In some cities in the US, I would be extra careful, but mostly in order to avoid others types of violent crime (robbery, car jacking, etc.). As a single woman, I walk alone everywhere in my neighborhood.

  • bluejives

    “Some men rape because they enjoy having power and control over women. I believe the accused here fall into this category. They live in a society in which men rule (in business, government). In this case, you CANNOT separate the individual crime from the culture in which these boys were socialized. I would argue the same about Columbine. You cannot separate the violence-worshipping American gun culture from those two Columbine killers.

    One final thought: The respone of the police, more than the rape itself, reflects the mysoginistic characteristics of Korea. Granted, it?€™s more representative of Miryang than Seoul, but a rape victim in America will NEVER be ridiculed and re-victimized by the police as these poor victims were.”
    -Terri

    Thank you for your comments. Perhaps I have focused a bit too much on peripherals rather than the core issue.

    I taught English in Miryang at the Miryang All-Girls Middle School sometime ago. So when I learned of this rape incident I was shocked. I was instantly reminded of all the students that I taught at that middle school. At the time, Miryang was a former small sleepy provincial town that was undergoing the growing pains of development. A rape incident such as this would have been unthinkable at that time. Miryang has changed. Korea has changed. I feel like there has been a loss of innocence.

    By ‘culture’, I take it you mean the persistent reminants of the hundreds of years of Chosun-era Confucianist tradition that still exists in various forms even in today’s Korea.

    Indeed, the policeman’s remark: “My hometown is Miryang, and you girls have brought disgrace on the city.” and the reactions of all those who were involved are heavily laced with persistent residual Confucianism for the following reasons:

    1. There is an element of ‘loss of face’ here. The policeman likes to proclaim himself ‘a Miryang man’. The rape incident has brought a cloud over his hometown and not only is it a ‘loss of face’ for the community but a ‘loss of face’ for himself as well.

    2. Confucianist tradition has always imposed a physical separation (segregation?) between the sexes. Especially at young ages (like adolescence) boys and girls are kept separate. Hence, the all-boys schools or the all-girls schools. However, with ever creeping modernization, education is becoming more co-ed and ‘freak’ incidents that would have been unheard of during an earlier, more stratified time are no longer freak incidents.

    3. Confucianist hierarchial tradition has historically put children in a place of secondary importance below adults, especially elders. This is reflected in the common sentiment many adults, whether family or stranger, hold in regard to young people: “Gung bang ji kae gul ji ma”. The fact that the young people were also girls certainly did not help the cause.

    4. Finally there is the primacy that parents have traditionally bestowed upon sons over daughters. Obviously, the boy’s parents backlash at the families of the girls was due to anxiety that this incident would haunt them and potentially ruin their sons futures.

    As an independent aggravating factor, most men, whether Korean or otherwise, will have a hard time relating to sexism and especially something like rape. This is due to the fact that men are simply not women. Men will never trully appreciate what it is like to have been raped, or to endure constant sexism in a society where male priviledge exists. Men who tend to express concern over sexist crimes are usually fathers with daughters or who know a relative or friend who has had damaging experiences.

    Whether it is fair to eye-to-eye compare societal norms of a nation like Korea, given all its background, with the norms that prevail in most Western nations, like the US, which has had ample time to develop at its own leisure through the natural course of historical human events is another debate entirely.

    With everything said and done, the catch-22 of Korea’s own struggle with attaining gender equality and fighting sexism is that there has to be meaningful dialogue between men and women and the willing participation of men has to be enlisted.

    Now the crucial question: do you believe that such a thing is possible in Korea or are Korean men just hopelessly sexist with misogynistic tendencies?

    I am a Korean person. I do not have daughters or even married. But I have two younger sisters. If some fellow raped one of my sisters, I would obtain a gun and blow the brains out of the lowlife scum, vigilante style.

    As far as most Korean men are concerned, here is the bottomline. I think change comes hard for everyone. Most people dont like change, especially those that demand a re-examination of personal beliefs and attitudes. This I call sociological inertia, both on individual and societal levels. And the older they are, the more inertia there is. But I am confident that younger generations of Korean men are much more likely to empathize with the concerns of gender equality.

    I for one absolutely hate it when someone paints Korean men with a broad brush of hopelessly unredeemable paternalism, sexism, and misogyny. I know for myself that I am not like that. But I have seen far too much of that, both online and offline, and quite often, even from Korean women themselves. As a minority person who grew up in America, who has experienced too many damn sterotypes of one form or another, whether in the media or in real life, I find that I cant help but be hyper-sensitive to that sort of stuff. If a Korean woman is trully interested in advocating gender equality in Korea or the Korean community, they would try to enlist participation of men like me without having me spending most of my time and energy fighting the generalization instead of focusing on the issue at hand. Unless, of course, their aim is to simply state that Korean men are hopelessly unredeemably sexist, chavinistic, misogynistic, and just leave it at that.

    As for Korean men in Korea, what kind of message would something like that send them? What possible incentive does that give them to involve themselves in the cause? Given that Korean men do have this tendency to have truckloads of pride and huge egos (let’s just accept this for now as a reality and not get into whether it is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ on its own) and given that residual Confucianist attitudes do exist, would Korean men be more likely to engage in ‘saving face’ or really focusing on the issue at hand? I believe there can be a better way.

    This is precisely the reason why I raising a big fuss earlier.

    I also believe that women in Korea would do well to examine the history of gender struggle in more experienced nations like the US or even Japan to see where things went wrong. There is a lot of unfinished business even in the US. My confident hope is that Korea will avoid the totally individualistic, zero-sum mentality that feminists have engaged in those nations. I personally believe that both men and women, of any society, have a stake in gender equality. Men should not feel that more power for women equals less power for men (zero-sum mentality)but that both sexes stand to benefit immensely in heretoforth unanticipated ways.

  • Anonymous for protection of my girlfriend

    I’m not going to read all 82 comments, but here are some rape statistics. Keep in mind, rapes are often not reported, such was the case with my girlfriend, who was raped by an ex-boyfriend and never called the police. The same goes in the US, and I assume in the rest of the world as well. Anyhow, while the rate is higher in the US than in Korea, look at some of the countries that are even higher up– Canada? Australia? http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/cri_rap_cap

    Oh, and 0.4% of the US population has been the victim of sexual assault (female only), not the bogus 1 in 3 figure that was thrown out there earlier. Reminds me of something in the early 90s when homeless advocates were saying something ridiculous like 30,000 Americans a day were becoming homeless– hmm 10.95 million new homeless per year?

    I digress. Here is the rate as a percentage of the population who are rape victims. http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/cri_rap_vic

    There is also an important blurb at the bottom: Crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law enforcement and willingness to report crime, than actual prevalence.

  • robertneff103

    Bluejives -
    Not that you need it or want it, but I am going to give you a compliment – that was an excellent post, worth reading and well thought out.

    Wishing you the best
    Robert

  • Terri

    Anonymous Poster #83:

    You contradict yourself. You say that “crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law enforcement and willingness to report crime, than actual prevalence.” Then you state that only “0.4% of the US population has been the victim of sexual assault,” not the “bogus” 1 in 3 figure.

    You said yourself that your girlfriend did not report being raped. Other posters have said the same thing. Don’t you think the actual incidence of rape is hell of a lot higher than the published government figure? Don’t you think the published figure is more BOGUS than the actual figure?

    About 20-30% of my female friends have been victims of date rape, forced oral sex (it was horrible horrible horrible), and other types of sexual assault. I know NOT ONE who reported it to the police.

    We cannot change what we don’t acknowledge.

  • bluejives

    Mizar5,

    If we lived in a world where there were no such thing as borders, where there is absolutely no such thing as nationalism, or preconceptions based upon one’s nationality, heritage, or skin color, then your arguments would make absolute perfect sense. Unfortunately, we do not live in this fantasy utopian world where everyone is holding hands and cheerfully singing ‘kumbaya’. Sorry to burst your idealistic bubble. Welcome to the real world.

    What I am trying to say is this. Listen very carefully because it is a very subtle point.

    It makes absolutely NO SENSE WHATSOEVER for liberal white people, such as yourself, or even well meaning Korean-American women, like Terri, to try to forceably impose US or other Western standards or norms, regarding such volatile issues like treatment of rape victims, which is only a subset of the vastly larger issue of institutional sexism, upon a nation like Korea. For the simple reason that Korea is NOT the US or any other Western nation. Doing that is like trying to force a square peg through a round hole. It doesn’t work!

    To do so is to completely ignore all the cultural forces that are at work within Korea. Has the US ever had to deal with 100′s of years of entrenched Confucianist values in its own struggle for gender equality? No! Korea, in comparision with the US, faces a MUCH TOUGHER CHALLENGE than the US EVER did to equalize the inequalities PARTICULARLY when it comes to the issues of institutional sexism.

    The goals that Korea MUST achieve are clear. Victims of sexist crimes MUST be treated with fairness and respect. But the very PROCESS of going from point A to point B must be in Korea’s own unique way, a way that acknowledges all of Korea’s own cultural uniqueness and peculiaralities. Korea is currently changing very rapidly economically and technology wise. Unfortunately, sociological change does not happen at the speed of business or globalization for the very reason I stated earlier, that being sociological inertia. But still, sociological change HAS TO, MUST KEEP UP. And the most effective, efficient way to effect change in Korea is to do so on Korea’s own terms. To simply impose US notions of legality or social norms upon a nation like Korea, which faces so many challenges already, is not only mindless but it is also to be intellectually lazy. For Korean feminists to simply copy the feminist model created and hashed out by feminists in Western nations is not only unoriginal, but it will not fit well within Korea’s own special needs and it may actually do more harm for the cause than good.

    Furthermore, the PRIMARY responsibility for the advancement of women’s rights and equality in Korea, are KOREAN WOMEN and other women who live in Korea, NOT WHITE MALE EXPATS. I dont think I have to spell out in detail why this is. But as I have stated before, I have utmost confidence in the future of gender equality in Korea, because Korean women are very tough, and our culture has produced the likes of Queen Min, and as tough, prideful bastards Korean men can be, Korean women WILL KNOW HOW TO EFFECTIVELY DEAL WITH THEM, both on a societal and individual level.

  • aletheia

    Mizar5. That’s wasn’t a compliment, heh, heh. i find it entertaining to see someone actually apply logical positivism, etc. to the real world. No offence.

    Terri. Yes we agree, I think.

  • aletheia

    Terri,
    I think it is generally safer for women to walk around at night in Seoul than in any major American city. Can we agree on that much? Or this, women feel safer here than in American cities. Can’t that fear factor be a yardstick for safty of women? If so, then it seems hypocritical for the American male to be slagging Korean males on the issue of rape. That was my point from the start, nothing more. That is my observation after 8 years in Korea, and sure enough, Korea is getting worse.

    Mizar5, you sound like a grad school refugee.

  • Terri

    Aletheia:

    It seems we agree on the general issue, but not on the specifics.

    Yes, I agree 100% that Korea is generally much safer than any major city in the US.

    However, just because there is less violence against women in the streets of Korea (e.g., very little carjacking, robbery, drive-by-shootings, etc.), how could you possibly conclude that therefore there is less rape??????? Don’t you know that most perpetrators of rape and sexual assault are friends/families/acquaintences?

    Can we agree on something else? A rape victim would be treated with much more respect in the States. Her chance of revictimization via the police would be minimized as much as possible. A child that I know just had to go through this process with the Special Victims Unit in her city, and the police were extremely careful and caring.

    For those of you who have slammed feminists here, please remember that it was through their activist efforts that Special Victims Units have been created and sensitivty training provided to the police. Things weren’t much better here 20-30 years ago.

    Rape happens in every culture. We don’t know for sure whether it happens more often in Eastern or Western cultures. However, how we treat the perpetrators and victims says A LOT about how that society views women.

  • http://lol Mizar5

    “Mizar5, you sound like a grad school refugee.”

    Thank you, aletheia. Although I’m not sure what that means, it sounds a bit like a complement. I want to say this thread has gotten consistently better and is turning into a thorougly enjoyable read – more thoughtful and reflective than the typical “my culture/idiology, etc. vs. yours” that so often becomes the common denominator and standard for internet discussion.

    Terri’s comments above are extremely well stated and it is also refreshing to read Bluejives’s interesting syle of locution.

    This thread has so many quotable take-aways, including this one: “Crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law enforcement and willingness to report crime, than actual prevalence.”

    “Anonymous” strikes again!

    I am tempted to add my own thoughts and avice here.
    Re:
    “There is a temptation in the world to ?€œbecome white?€? that lures Asians to scapegoat blacks or Blacks to rant on Asians as a kind of way of auditioning for ?€?acceptance?€™ with a white audience.”

    The irony of the above statment is that it uses the accusation of scapegoating a race or culture as a means of scapegoating a race or cultre. It scapegoats white people by implication as the cause of the scapegoating of non white people by non white people, an intriguing example of fallacious argument and circuitous logic.

    A more pragmatic and positive perspective on appealing to mainstream culture can be formulated as follows:

    What’s wrong with winning the acceptance of a white audience? Countless people of diverse ethnic origins have realized success by introducing something of value from their own personal backgrounds into mainstream culture. It is a win-win proposition.

  • http://lol Mizar5

    Bluejives: “I must also consider, what powerful group of people has influenced society such that minority or non-white folks feel compelled to behave this way?”

    The implication that there is some such clearly definable powerful and influential social group that can be held responsible for the evils of others is one of those intriguing fallacies that often serves as an ingenious evasion of personal responsibility. It is interesting to observe the various ways our minds have of laying blame for specific personal problems upon “greater society”.

    But it is also self-defeating. No one is to blame for our thoughts and actions but ourselves, and the accusation that someone influential somewhere may have a different set of prejudices from our own is entirely irrelevent. The fallacy of the premise quoted above is that there is nothing dark, conspiritorial or inherently influential about people operating from their particular personal perspectives.

    Rather, the truly influential cultural forces are those who promote understanding among people of differing perspectives. Once you get past the fact that everyone is different, differing perspectives can be acknowledged, respected and harmonized.

  • http://brendon.typepad.com Brendon Carr

    You think TV is a good way to learn about Western culture???? Are you for real??? My Korean cousin, now in the States for grad school, was shocked that there was racism in America. Her quote: ?€œBut they get along so well in the movies!?€?

    Another thing she found shocking after living here a couple of years was how involved American (white, black, Asian-American, etc.) fathers were in their kids?€™ lives. You can?€™t learn such cultural values from watching Friends!!!!!!!!!!!
    What I find most shocking is the fact that you’re apparently an adult who uses eleven exclamation points to convey seriousness.

    But that’s closely followed by the fact that you believe a culture’s belief structure, its themes and tropes, cannot be determined by a review of its storytelling.

  • ?Œ¿

    To summarize:

    1. Non-Koreans are not equipped to have any opinions about Korea whatsoever. Positive opinions may be accepted, though.

    2. All negative opinions about Korea, including minor preferences like music or TV shows, derive from racism and ignorance. A non-Korean who doesn’t like ‘JSA’ doesn’t like the movie because he or she is a racist, or at the very least irredeemably culturally ignorant.

    3. Foreign opinions about Korea may be mediated by socially conscious Kyopos, like bluejives. This is in fact the only way that such opinions may be reached.

    4. Whites, including well-meaning feminists, are genetically incapable of meaningful ideation concerning Korea.

    5. Korean culture is a mystery to all outsiders except Kyopos.

    Oh, incidently, I agree with you (bluejives) about Korea’s gender issues being its own responsibility, and that Western norms shouldn’t be a priori applied to Korea’s unique situation. Only, there’s not anything particularly subtle about this notion. Any moderately thoughtful person will intuit something like this from the beginning (even if they disagree with it). The fact that you think others might find it “subtle” is just an illustration of your prejudices.

    Keep going, though. If the pattern holds, you ought to be calling mixed-race children “garbage,” “filth,” or “abominations” any time now. Then again, maybe you’ll take a more subtle approach…

  • Terri

    Hmmm… I’m new here, but it seems some of this hostility amongst posters goes way back…

    Bluejives:

    You stated that it doesn’t make sense for white folks or “even well meaning Korean-American women, like Terri, to try to forceably impose US or other Western standards or norms, regarding such volatile issues like treatment of rape victims.”

    I don’t think anyone here is saying we need to apply US standards of norm for all women. The fact is, every single one of the posters here (including yourself) agrees that there’s a lot of room for improvement in the treatment of women in Korea.

    Applying INTERNATIONAL standards of norm, what happened in Miryang was just wrong and should not happen again. I’m sure things like this happen in third-world countries, but I think many of us have higher expectations of Korea.

    Bluejives, I don’t want Korean women to copy the US feminist movement and try to incorporate American laws. That would be ridiculous. However, I would like Korea to be more progressive in their treatment of women. Wouldn’t it make sense for Koreans to look to other countries that have made recent progress and learn from their mistakes/achievements? I don’t mean COPY, but learn from them.

    I also agree that it’s up to Korean women (and men) to empower themselves and try to make changes internally. However, I don’t think it’s necessary to dismiss Korean-American women like myself (I lived in Korea for 10 years), or white ex-pats, or anyone else who is interested.

    I don’t think it’s elitist or racist to want Korean women to be treated better.

  • hanminjoke

    ?€œIt makes absolutely NO SENSE WHATSOEVER for liberal white people or even well meaning Korean-American women to try to forceably impose US or other Western standards or norms upon a nation like Korea.?€?

    It?€™s rather revealing that you label the kyopo women ?€œwell-meaning,?€? while you regularly deny that same label to the liberal whiteys in favor of insults and ad hominem attacks, regardless of the fact that they?€™re saying essentially the same thing. One messenger seems to get the benefit of your doubt, while the other receives your scorn. Probably just a coincidence.

    ?€œKorea, in comparision with the US, faces a MUCH TOUGHER CHALLENGE than the US EVER did to equalize the inequalities PARTICULARLY when it comes to the issues of institutional sexism.?€?

    So I should pity Korea for the ?€œchallenges?€? it faces, even though Koreans created those very challenges themselves and many in Korean society continue to support those same challenges?

    ?€œBut the very PROCESS of going from point A to point B must be in Korea?€™s own unique way, a way that acknowledges all of Korea?€™s own cultural uniqueness and peculiaralities.?€?

    jives, I hope you?€™ll be the first to knock on all the doors of the victim?€™s parents, and explain to them that the reason their daughters were put through hell was because Korean society is going through the lengthy process of finding its own ?€œunique?€? (read: NON-WESTERN) way of changing institutional chauvinistic and sexist attitudes among law enforcement officers and in society in general. Lord knows that the next time something like this incident occurs, you?€™ll be front and center with a progress report on the search for a solution that addresses Korea?€™s ?€œpeculiarities.?€?

    I know that if it were my daughter who happened to be on the receiving end of not only a gang rape, but a verbal assault by cops when she bravely decided to come forward, it would make me feel SO much better knowing that the reason she had to endure that second assault from the very people entrusted to protect her, was because the official search committee still hadn?€™t found a sensitivity training course ?€œunique?€? and ?€œpeculiar?€? enough to meet Korea?€™s standards.

    In essence what you’re saying is that the end (acceptable level of treatment of women in Korean society) is not relevant enough to justify using means which are seen as “western” and therefore, tainted.

    Better to let the disease fester than to attempt to correct it with a solution from the inferior west.

  • http://lol Mizar5

    “Mizar5. That?€™s wasn?€™t a compliment, heh, heh. i find it entertaining to see someone actually apply logical positivism, etc. to the real world. No offence.”

    Thanks, again, Aletheia. I am not a logical positivist although I have been accused of it before. I am a pragmatist and attempt to balance logic with inspiration. And I will take this as a compliment since you appear to recognise the real value of such an approach.

    Take care!

  • http://aboutjoel.com/index.php?p=239 About Joel… ?¡°?????? ?Œ€??????… Not that kind of girl on girl

    [...] emale high school student) and ??­??‰ (assault) and just assumed it was a rehashing of the events that recently occurred in Miryang. (For those of you who don?€™t k [...]

  • pooh

    Hmmm, after reading about 30 some posts, I skimmed through the others – mostly because I’m not sure why the comments became so polarized, as in Koreans vs. non-Koreans. I noticed that many blog comments end up like this – instead of commenting on the article itself, the article becomes a vehicle to criticize each other’s culture. Anyhoo. I AM a Korean woman who’s lived abroad (in many different cultures, including Islamic culture) and I do have an issue with the way Korean culture treats women. However, I believe it is improving, albeit slowly. Yes, there should be public outrage but I don’t know if this should be directed at ALL Korean men or the entire culture. For a perspective on American rapes, one only needs to see “The Accused” or some episodes of Law & Order SVU. Defense lawyers have been known to accuse the women for “asking for it”. Universally we’re ALL a bit backwards regarding rape. It doesn’t matter where it happened – what matters is that it happened, it happens and will happen again. I also noticed that mostly men are heatedly commenting off tangent, doing the “My culture is better than yours, nyah nyah” bit. Trust me, once you’ve been raped (whether you’re a woman or a man), it’s not about politics or culture – something is broken internally (physically AND mentally) and it IS a heinous act of aggression. And depending on how the society views rape victims, it can also be socially devastating for the victim. For them, it’s not about statistics or special groups’ agendas – it’s about dignity, soul, and preservation of one’s body and mind.

  • Mizar5

    Pooh: “Hmmm, after reading about 30 some posts, I skimmed through the others – mostly because I?€™m not sure why the comments became so polarized, as in Koreans vs. non-Koreans.”

    Pooh, that’s because we Koreans are generally so sensitive and defensive that our braggadocio tends to piss people off. Somehow we are driven to maintain the fiction that we are better than anybody else on the planet, and we lack the subtly to disguise our arrogance. For example, our news reporting is blatently biased and inaccurate when it comes to foreigners. So the answer is that we create the us vs. them mentality and we’re surprised when the foreigners react to it.

    What foreigners should keep in mind is that we don’t mean any harm by it. The reason for the overkill is that we’re just not quite convinced ourselves of our superiority. The real audience is ourselves, not them and they should not take it personally. You see, we Koreans, more than anyone else on the planet, like to talk. And rather than get on with the work of bettering ourselves, we’re just trying to talk ourselves into believing it. And if a few foreigners get trashed in the process, they should simply accept this as their assigned role in Korea. After all, if they want to be treated like human beings, let them go back to their own countries.

    “I noticed that many blog comments end up like this – instead of commenting on the article itself, the article becomes a vehicle to criticize each other?€™s culture. Anyhoo. I AM a Korean woman who?€™s lived abroad (in many different cultures, including Islamic culture) and I do have an issue with the way Korean culture treats women. However, I believe it is improving, albeit slowly.”

    Yes, that’s not likely because we have become any more sensitive to women but because of the feminization of the young Korean male. When I grew up in Kyeongsan Buk Do, a man was a man and did what a man had to do and the women just had to understand. Unfortunately, it made Korean women a little devious. They learned to decieve us with a phony pleasing feminine manner (which we call aegyo) and we fall for it like a ton of bricks. Today women use their charms to pull us into line, lead us around by the noses and call the shots in relationships. The reason you note that the improvement is so slight is that we men have not really become much more sensitive to the needs and feelings of women; we are just more pussy-whipped. Even so, we deserve praise for what little improvement we’ve made – not only because we love to praise ourselves but because the improvement, no matter how statistically insignificant, has got to represent exponential growth of 100% or more considering where we were.

    “Yes, there should be public outrage but I don?€™t know if this should be directed at ALL Korean men or the entire culture.”

    Right, let’s put the matter in perspective and blame only 95% of Korean men and culture. But let me ask – what is the difference between Korean men and culture? We do almost everything together, don’t we? We can’t seem to do anything without the influence of the group – even rape. So to blame the man is to blame the culture. It’s not as though we accept personal responsibility for our individual acts. We just follow along and rationalize our behavior along the way. I know this frustrates foreigners who think we aught to change into a more rational society, ruled by individual ethics. But again, they just don’t understand our culture. We’re Korean, and that makes what we do culturally correct.

    “For a perspective on American rapes, one only needs to see ?€œThe Accused?€? or some episodes of Law & Order SVU. Defense lawyers have been known to accuse the women for ?€œasking for it”. Universally we?€™re ALL a bit backwards regarding rape. It doesn?€™t matter where it happened – what matters is that it happened, it happens and will happen again. I also noticed that mostly men are heatedly commenting off tangent, doing the ?€œMy culture is better than yours, nyah nyah?€? bit. Trust me, once you?€™ve been raped (whether you?€™re a woman or a man), it?€™s not about politics or culture – something is broken internally (physically AND mentally) and it IS a heinous act of aggression. And depending on how the society views rape victims, it can also be socially devastating for the victim. For them, it?€™s not about statistics or special groups?€™ agendas – it?€™s about dignity, soul, and preservation of one?€™s body and mind.”

    You’ve been Westernized. If you were really Korean, you’d be a lot more self-absorbed. You wouldn’t see people of different cultures as equals but would promote Korean cultural superiority. Instead of concerning yourself so much about correctly representing the facts, you’d do the responsible thing and find a way to manipulate information to our advantage. Don’t forget – what defines us as Koreans is our separateness from others and we must on the balance be portrayed in a positive light relative to foreigners.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I personally agree with you that rape is bad and women aught to be defended. However, if that means having to get our feelings hurt by hearing the truth about ourselves, then portraying rape victims as the culprits is really a small price to pay in the name of national pride. Women just need to realize that the pride of a nation is its men and the dutiful thing is to just take the blame.

  • pooh

    Ha. Wow. Not too clever an attempt at trying to seem clever… unless, of course, you really believe in what you wrote – then, well, I still can’t take you seriously since it’s lame either way.

  • pooh

    ps no, I’ve not been ‘westernized’ as I grew up in different Asian countries – I’ve only lived in the US as an adult.

  • http://lol Mizar5

    “Ha. Wow. Not too clever an attempt at trying to seem clever?€?”

    Thanks, Pooh, cleverness just seems to come natural to me I suppose.

    “unless, of course, you really believe in what you wrote – then, well, I still can?€™t take you seriously since it?€™s lame either way.”

    Thanks, it’s a good thing that you take things so lightheartedly.

    “ps no, I?€™ve not been ?€?westernized?€™ as I grew up in different Asian countries – I?€™ve only lived in the US as an adult.”

    That’s better, Pooh, welcome back to our side. For a moment I thought you really meant all those silly comments when you decried arguing cultural supremecy. You were sounding much too logical for a while there. Nice to have you back.

  • pooh

    WTF? What’s the color of sky in your world? I have no idea what your point is – there’s no side, there’s no ‘we’ and I don’t recall decrying any argument. I’ve never read anything you posted before, I rarely post on or read blogs other than the ones written by a few people I know. Are you one of those people who search websites to pick fights? I have no idea what you’re about – and you have no idea where I’m coming from. All your comments directed at me are a bit demented – do you have a problem?

  • White Knight In Shining Armor

    I want to rescue mistreated oriental women from the wicked eastern man.

  • bluejives

    yeah prince charming.

    there’s plenty of lonely horny neglected ajumas out there all alone while their workaholic husbands are out all night hanging with the boys in the da-bangs getting plastered on soju.

    go get em tiger!

  • Mizar5

    bluejives>”yeah prince charming.
    there?€™s plenty of lonely horny neglected ajumas out there all alone while their workaholic husbands are out all night hanging with the boys in the da-bangs getting plastered on soju.
    go get em tiger!”

    Bluejives, now that “Don’t Tell Mama” has shut down, have you kept up on the latest hangout for neglected ajumas out for one night stands? Sounds like a good subject for Mamot’s next entry.

  • Mizar5

    Pooh>”WTF? What?€™s the color of sky in your world? I have no idea what your point is – there?€™s no side, there?€™s no ?€?we?€™ and I don?€™t recall decrying any argument. I?€™ve never read anything you posted before, I rarely post on or read blogs other than the ones written by a few people I know. Are you one of those people who search websites to pick fights? I have no idea what you?€™re about – and you have no idea where I?€™m coming from. All your comments directed at me are a bit demented – do you have a problem?”

    Hi, Pooh. I have a way of making quite an impression, and once I have your attention, you will see that my charm quickly wins you over. That’s just my disarming manner.

    I’m not a fighter really; I’m a lover. As for my problem, I have no problem with my problem which, as you point out, is dementia. Fortunately I’m one of those demented folks who walks down the street laughing to himself rather than muttering under his breath. Am I really that entertaining? I guess it’s just that even I can’t resist my own charm.

    Just one comment – how can you be certain I have no idea where you’re coming from? Actually I thought your original comments quite good so you shouldn’t let my witty reparte throw you off. We should get together for a soju – after the holidays, maybe, no need to get back to me right away. That way you can have the opportunity to enjoy my wit and charm firsthand. Speaking of which, enjoy the holidays!

    Happy holidays to all!
    And thanks, Marmot, for giving me a hole, which I truly deserve.

  • http://www.gordsellar.com gordsellar

    To go far back to something noted earlier, but from a different angle, it may be that real Confucianism and modernity are just not compatible? I mean, if we’re saying that co-ed school is “modern” in that sense. I’m sure if school had suddenly become co-ed in America in the 1940s or 50s, we’d see a lot of rape cases. Confucianism is a blatantly sexist system, like so many other traditional systems of organizing people. It’s not as if all Korean celebrate Confucianism uncritically, too.

    I understand that it’s hard to change, but that’s not an excuse not to change. What irks me is that stubborn refusal to change when an outsider points out a problem, even coming from people who do see the problem and speak angrily about it when an outsider is not around. Which may be a reason I feel driven to comment on both the problem and the reception of comments on it.

    Another thing: while Koreans I’ve spoken about say things are actually getting worse, that society is “going crazy”, I remember people saying that in Canada in the 80s when I was a kid, too. The saying that the world is going to the dogs is a Latin one, from ancient Rome. In fact, things seemed to be getting worse in Canada, because things like rape and child abuse were going unreported somewhat less often than before; but the increased reportage actually reflected improvements.

    As some have noted above, while the event was horrible, the reportage of it may be a positive sign.

  • http://www.gordsellar.com gordsellar

    And by the way, I choose America 1940 or 50s as an example of a roughly modern society without a recently massively successful womens’ movement and all the proceeding impact of it, as a comparison point for Korea. Not because I think Korea now is the same as America in the 1940s or 50s.

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