Sex crimes in Korean Navy

Sex crimes in Korean Navy
A South Korean military policewoman on duty. With the number of women in the military on the rise, preventing sex crimes in the military is an urgent issue for South Korea.

Last week, a Korean Navy lieutenant colonel was arrested on suspicion of attempted rape of a female sergeant.

It is alleged that the Navy lieutenant colonel attempted to sexually assault the sergeant after forcing her to have dinner with him, over which two bottles of soju were consumed.

He is accused of trying to sexually assault her in his car and again in a motel.

In the process, the sergeant sustained injuries requiring two weeks of treatment.

In reporting the incident to the authorities, the sergeant said that she was forced to join her superior for dinner and forced against her will to go to the motel with him.

This is just the latest in a string of sexual violence cases in the Navy.

Last July a Navy lieutenant colonel was dismissed from office following allegation of sexually harassing two women officers during an official dinner function.

In December, a female non-commissioned officer reported two male commissioned officers for sexual harassment.

Last month, a Navy vice admiral and a Navy lieutenant colonel were found to have ordered female golf caddies to sing and dance on the field.

While the case was reported to the Navy in January after the caddies filed complaint with the officials in charge of the golf course, the Navy reportedly closed the case deciding that it was not a serious case of sexual abuse.

Media reports of the incident prompted the Navy to reopen the case, which resulted in the perpetrators receiving one-month suspensions for sexual harassment.

It is of grave concern that the latest sexual assault occurred less than a week after defence minister Han Min-koo promised measures aimed at rooting out sexual violence in the military. The military already has a principle of "zero tolerance" for sex crimes.

However, as seen in the incident involving sexual harassment of caddies, the Navy does not seem to take sexual violence as a serious issue.

In fact, the Navy does not appear to take the military's anti-sex crime efforts too seriously, judging by how Han's pledge to root out sex crimes in the military, made only a week earlier, did not deter its lieutenant colonel from sexually assaulting a female subordinate.

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