[Editorial] Time to Respond Rationally
[Editorial] Time to Respond Rationally
  • Ewha Voice
  • 승인 2006.04.05 00:00
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   Koreans have a tendency to react emotionally but forget easily. This kind of national reaction was not an exception when Representative Choi Yeon-hee sexually molested a woman reporter. Most people were highly upset when Rep. Choi showed little understanding of his misdeed, and simply said that he thought it was the restaurant's owner that he molested sexually. Nevertheless, no legal steps were taken.
   In contrast, in the U.S., the two of the most effective laws to control sex offenders, Meghan's law and Jessica's law, were both passed when the victim's family responded legally. Through legal action, they were able to win other American citizens's hearts, establish new state laws, then even inspire a federal law. This success should be a model for the citizens of Korea.
   Meghan's law and Jessica's law are for serious sex criminals and Rep. Choi is not a serious sex criminal. However, small behaviors can lead to bigger problems. If he is not punished legally, then other people might infer that it is okay to sexually molest someone else, since no law stops it.
   Currently, Rep. Choi's behavior has been only a social issue because, although it was unethical, it was not illegal. Thus, many people cry out in support of women's rights and attack Rep. Choi for putting women down. But this is not enough to deal with the issue of sexual harassment.
   Under a better system, Choi would take full responsibility of his actions, receive judgment in court, and then resign. His resignation is necessary, but the method pursued now is wrong. Resigning simply to calm people's irrational emotions will not help Rep. Choi, Korean society, or future sex crime cases. Instead, laws need to be established to prevent such future harassment, and legal action should be taken for Rep. Choi. This will satisfy everyone's sense of justice and even give those found guilty a better chance to face punishment and then start out again without fear of revenge from people who react personally and irrationally.
   The U.S. is introducing various methods to stop sexual crimes, such as posting up the pictures and personal information of sexual criminals online, providing psychological treatment, and using electronic bracelets that locate sex offenders. Like them, Koreans should form general legal principles and guidelines for dealing with this problem.
   Currently, there are many sex crimes happening in Korea: a school teacher raped his colleague, old men raped young children, and a taxi driver raped his customers. If rational action is taken against these men, and Rep. Choi, this will be a good example to future sex offenders and help prevent such crimes.

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