Warning for Seoul Subway Assaulters

The Seoul Metropolitan Subway Corp. began broadcasting messages to passengers waiting for a train, warning against committing “unpleasant acts repulsive to other riders.” The warning is directed towards men who routinely grope and/or assault women while on the subway.

Results of a recent survey indicate that 75 percent of 1,000 women had been groped on the subway and approximately 98 percent desired anti-groping warnings.

A law criminalizing groping on subways was passed in 1994, but most women do not report the incidents out of shame and few convictions have been made.

Researchers blame South Korea’s tradition of Confucianism, male domination and women’s low social status for the continued assaults.

Jang Pil-Hwa, a women’s study professor at Ewha Women’s University, said, “Sexual harassment is about power and control …. Where there is discrimination against women, there is sexual harassment. Despite the nation’s fast advances in economy and democracy, women’s social status is still very low here.”


AP - March 2, 1998

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