South Korea: Odd Sexual Harassment Ruling Gets Mocked Online

A local court’s ruling in a sexual harassment case has stirred up numerous jokes and sarcastic comments [ko] amongst South Koreans on Twitter.

A female sales clerk working at a golf shop, filed a sexual harassment charge against a male customer, claiming that he touched and poked her ‘breast area’ with his finger against her will. Judge Kim in the Daegu District Court dropped the case [ko] on July 3, 2012, saying ‘the area the victim reported being poked was near her collarbone and is not actually a “sexually sensitive area” such as the bosom.’

No Sexual Violence T-shirt During SlutWalk March in London

A woman wears a t-shirt against sexual violence during a slutwalk march in London, United Kingdom. Photo by Alex Milan Tracy, copyright (c) Demotix (11/06/2011)

Kim Nam-Hoon (@namhoon) an influential tweep in South Korea  [ko] received countless comments mocking the court’s decision after he tweeted:

판사가 이젠 성감대까지 감별

Now the judge gets to decide which area is ‘sexually sensitive’.

Twitter user @taek2_j responded with this snarky comment [ko]:

쇄골 아래는 성감대가 아니었군요! 판사님이 성감대까지 정해주시다니 친절도 하셔라.

Now I know that right below the collar bone is not a sexually sensitive zone. How kind of you judge to decide which [area] is my sexually sensitive body part.

@please_be_happy tweeted [ko]:

성추행을 당한 사람이 느껴야만 성추행으로 인정된다는건가? 미친거 아냐?

Does this mean it can be ruled as sexual harassment only if the victim is aroused by the act? How crazy is that!

@dreamer_sun added [ko]:

모르긴해도 저부위가 판사의 성감대는 아닌걸로.

Probably it is because the collarbone area is not the judge’s sexually sensitive area.

This joke [ko] by @Ex_armydoc has been retweeted more than 640 times:

한국 법정에서 공식적으로 쇄골 밑은 성감대가 아니라고 판결했습니다. 이제부터 쇄골 밑에서 느끼시는 분들은 불법을 자행하고 계신 것이니 가까운 파출소나 경찰서에 신고하여 주시기 바랍니다.

Korean Court has officially ruled that below the collarbone is not a sexually sensitive area. If you find someone who feels aroused when this area is touched, it is illegal. So please report to the nearest police station.

Some net users, however, argued [ko] that some media coverage has been exaggerated and misleading. However @aqua7414 clarified [ko] a simple ground rule in ruling a sexual harassment case.

언제부터 성감대를 법으로 정했냐? 신체접촉이 불쾌했다면 그게 성추행이지. 그럼 발에 집착하고 손에집착하는 사람들..아동성범죄 저지르는 놈들 다 무죄겠네? 아이가 성감대가 있을리 없잖아? 법원은 뇌를 들고 출근해라!

Since when does the court get to rule which body parts are sexually sensitive? If the person felt harassed, then it is sexual harassment. [When the court's logic is applied to] sexual predators who have a foot fetish, hand fetish, or child rapists, [they] can all be considered not guilty – since kids may not have yet fully developed their sexually sensitive zone. When you judges go to work, take your brains with you.


  • anonymous coward

    Not sure about how the situation looks like in Korea, but in general I thought that the jurisdictional process was supposed to work like this:

    1. Something happens
    2. I think I am being wronged, hence I sue
    3. The other side disagrees and it goes to court
    4. The judge rules whether or not I was wronged

    …which is exactly what happened in this case. So the judge decided whether it was sexual harassment or not and decided against the plaintiff. It is the judges job to pass judgement. I am glad that the judge brought his/her brain brain to work as bloggers and tweeters seem to have a lot of voice but are not required to bring theirs.

    Seriously, if the victim is the one to judge what I regard as sexual harassment, I could as well say that you writing about somebody poking another person’s breast area is sexually harassing me and sue you. And if that judge would do a wimpish job as all the quotes above require, I would actually be given right.

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