SEOUL, Aug. 17 (Korea Bizwire) — Yesterday’s acquittal of former South Chungcheong Province Gov. Ahn Hee-jung, who was charged with raping a former aide, has sparked controversy, with many activists calling for a new law that would make non-consensual sexual acts a crime in regards to the “no means no” rule, a campaign slogan that was initiated on Canadian college campuses in the 1990s.
The “no means no” rule is the idea that if sexual intercourse took place even after the victim clearly expressed refusal, it should be regarded as rape.
The “no means no” movement that took place on Canadian campuses was an attempt to prevent instances of date rape or sexual assault from acquaintances of victims.
Critics have continuously stated that domestic laws on sexual assault are not up to par with international standards, as they only focus on whether victims were physically assaulted or intimidated.
The United Nation’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) advised the South Korean government to include the clause “without voluntary consent by the victim” in regards to rape in its laws.
Even a government committee on legal reform has recommended that the current clause that establishes rape only when there is “means of violence or intimidation” according to the Article 297 of the Criminal Act should be changed to include “without voluntary consent.”
Although both the ruling party and its opposition have proposed bills that would amend rape laws, others have stated that implementing the non-consent clause should be done with caution so that it does not contribute to a situation where victims themselves must prove that they did not consent to the sexual abuse.
On the other hand, critics on the opposite end say the law should not make it easier for alleged victims to manipulate their claim of rape especially if defendants are innocent.
H. S. Seo (email@example.com)