SEOUL, Feb. 19 (Korea Bizwire) — Dating violence is on the rise in South Korea, claiming around eight lives every month.
More than 10,000 people were arrested for infractions related to dating violence last year, according to data from the National Police Agency.
The figure has been increasing steadily since 2014, surpassing the 10,000 mark for the first time in 2017.
Though dating violence refers to any form of physical, psychological, verbal or sexual violence between couples, most cases include battery, injury involving a deadly weapon or choking.
Nearly 7,500 cases of battery and injury occurred last year alone, with 67 murders and attempted murders.
However, only 3 percent of those arrested for dating violence faced jail time during the first quarter of 2017.
Earlier this week, a man who kidnapped and tortured his girlfriend for two weeks until she escaped was sentenced to four years in jail, but the verdict sparked debate, with many saying the ruling was only slap on the wrist while calling for stricter punishment.
In another case from 2016, Park, a 62-year-old man, battered and threw hydrofluoric acid at his girlfriend in the face and the neck, ultimately leading to her death, after his girlfriend said she wanted to end their relationship.
Between, 2012 and 2016, a total of 467 victims lost their lives due to dating violence, which comes down to nearly eight women every month.
Growing Calls for Stricter Punishment
Experts say that dating violence is often repeated due to the fact that it is often committed between couples, and many are calling for perpetrators to face stricter punishment.
According to a survey conducted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government last month, nearly 6 in 10 women said ‘weak punishment’ was one of the main reasons behind dating violence, while others cited growing misogyny.
In South Korea, there is no measure in place to protect victims of dating violence, and often, the severity of violent crimes committed between couples is downplayed in the courts. In some cases, relationship status helps mitigate punishment, drawing a stark contrast with countries like the U.S. and the U.K. where dating violence is treated more seriously.
Park Mi-rang, a professor of police administration at Hannam University, says measures must be introduced to separate perpetrators and victims.
“Instead of just punishing perpetrators, efforts to correct problematic behavior need to be pursued as a country,” Park added.