SEOUL, Feb. 8 (Korea Bizwire) — One out of nine women working in the film industry have been on the receiving end of undesired sexual overtures, and one out of five have either been touched without their consent or coerced into touching another.
Documents from the office of politician Yoo Seong-yeop on February 7 revealed that 11.5 percent of women and 2.6 percent of men working in the film industry had been propositioned for sex, and 19 percent of women (9.7 percent of men) were touched or made to touch someone against their will.
The documents contained the results of a survey jointly conducted by the Korean Film Council and the organization Women in Film last year among 749 cast and crew members in the film industry regarding sexism and sexual harassment.
Pressure to meet privately (26.2 percent women, 10.9 percent men) and sexual remarks on physical appearance (35.1 percent women, 20.3 percent men) were frequent experiences. Among the incidents, 57.2 percent occurred during or after work meals and in situations where alcohol was present, while 29.7 percent of women and 15 percent of men reported being pressured to join in gatherings to drink or to serve alcohol to the parties present.
The survey also revealed that 25.1 percent of incidents took place at meetings away from filming, compared to 21.4 percent while on set.
The vast number of perpetrators were men (91.7 percent), while 5.4 percent of women and 14.3 percent of men were found to have been harassed by members of the same sex.
The majority of victims remained silent, with only a minority speaking out. Among the victims, 15.7 percent said they had “confronted the perpetrator on the spot”, while 56.6 percent did not do anything even though “they felt [what happened] was a problem” and 39.4 percent “tried to act oblivious and avoid what was happening”.
Concern over future job security and reputation loomed large in victims’ fears when considering the possibility of disclosing their harassment. “Fear of criticism and rumors spreading within the industry” was the reason given by 31.1 percent, while 26.6 percent worried they would be excluded from future jobs if their experiences were made public.
With 67.9 percent saying that a work culture that can effectively tackle sexual harassment issues is lacking and a near universal 92.1 percent calling for a system governing these types of issues, there is no doubt that concern over sexual misconduct in the workplace is being keenly felt by South Korea’s movie makers.