SEOUL, March 9 (Korea Bizwire) — The growing #MeToo movement in South Korea is sweeping through hospitals and pharmaceutical companies as workers come forward with their own stories of sexual harassment.
A female worker at Janssen Korea has shared her experience of sexual violence, prompting the international pharmaceutical company to launch sexual harassment investigations.
In a telling e-mail sent to coworkers, the female staffer who worked at Janssen Korea for seven years exposed her encounters of sexual harassment in detail, including verbal abuse and inappropriate physical contact.
Doctors attempted to make inappropriate physical contact during business dinners, while senior male staff made sexually degrading comments, the e-mail alleged without dropping any names.
The woman has said her intention wasn’t to ‘point fingers at perpetrators, but to raise awareness of violence which prevails like air within the company’.
Janssen Korea is now looking into the scandal after the accusations came to light.
“Any type of bullying is a breach of company rules and we are taking the case seriously. If the accusations turn out to be true, strict conduct codes and punitive measures will be implemented,” an official from the company said in response to the latest #MeToo allegations.
Seoul National University Hospital is also mired in sexual harassment accusations, as a group of professors from the department of neuropsychiatry have accused one of their colleagues of sexually harassing students, nurses and staff, an individual who also stands accused of overprescribing opioids.
“A probe launched by both the college of medicine and the university when the accusations first surfaced was withdrawn at the request of the victim. Accusations of sexual harassment against other staff will be investigated promptly,” an official at Seoul National University Hospital said.
Nearly half of female medical interns experienced sexual harassment last year, according to a joint study by the Research Institute for Healthcare Policy and the Korean Intern Resident Association.
Most incidents go unreported, however, with only 3.2 percent of health workers who have experienced sexual violence seeking help and taking legal steps to resolve the issue, the Korean Health and Medical Workers’ Union said.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)