Policy conference held on the eradication of gender based violence
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Photo Credit: Newsis
In commemoration of the 109th anniversary of International Women’s Day, a policy conference for the eradication of gender based violence was held on March 7 by six women’s rights and human rights organizations, including the National Coalition to Eradicate Prostitution, Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center, Women Migrants Human Rights Center of Korea, and Korea Women’s Hotline.
The conference addressed policy directions and key agenda items related to the eradication of gender based violence and the actualization of gender equality the type of violence (domestic violence, sexual violence, prostitution, etc.) and the type of victim.
In a presentation entitled For the protection of the human rights of victims, not family protection, Mi-gyeong Ko, Director of Korea Women’s Hotline, pointed out that the overarching focus of the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment, etc. of Crimes of Domestic Violence (the domestic violence punishment act) is currently on family protection and preservation. For this reason, the rate of offenders in DV cases receiving non-prosecution and protective disposition rather than criminal punishment amounts to approximately 85% (2011-2015).
Ko also discussed the need for the abolition of deferred prosecution on the condition of counseling, which promotes the notion that domestic violence is not truly a crime, as well as the need for the introduction of a mandatory arrest policy for DV offenders.
Mi-gyeong Lee, Director of the Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center, offered the presentation From a policy of victim protection to a policy of victims’ human rights protection. Lee emphasized that the victims of sexual violence are not simply people in need of sympathy, but should in fact be considered victims of human rights violations and require due legal protection of their rights. The need to ban introducing a victim’s sexual history as evidence was also discussed. Lee claimed that while the violation of the human rights of victims by police, prosecutors, judges, and offenders’ lawyers is at a serious level, there is no provision in the current law to prevent it. According to Lee, most jurisdictions in the United States have a Rape Shield Law that forbids the introduction of information on a victim’s sexual history, and in the case of the United Kingdom, Article 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act requires that the accused gain permission from the court if they wish to submit as evidence any information on sexual conduct by the victim that is unrelated to the incident. In addition, Lee brought up issues related to the provision of effective sexual violence prevention education and securing the sustainability of the budget for the support for VAW victims.
In a presentation entitled Decriminalization of prostituted women and a shift toward addressing the demand side, Mi-rye Jeong, Director of the National Coalition to Eradicate Prostitution stated that prostitution is in fact a type of violence against women, as well as an act of sexual exploitation that both directly and indirectly abuses one person’s body for the sexual satisfaction of another. She called for a total revision of the prostitution punishment act in order to define women in prostitution as victims of sexual exploitation and curtail the demand side of prostitution. Measures for adolescent victims of sexual exploitation were also discussed. Suggestions included the re-conception of adolescent prostitution to adolescent sexual exploitation, the abolition of the definition of ‘children and juveniles involved in prostitution’ in the Act on the Protection of Children and Juveniles against Sexual Abuse, and the creation of a support system-based law.
Voices from the field shed light on polices to eradicate gender based violence, The Women’s News, March 3, 2017.
The Compendium for the Policy Conference for the Eradication of Gender Based Violence
A Framework law to eradicate violence against women is needed, The Hankyoreh, March 7, 2017.
There can be no human rights, justice, or a future without eradicating violence against women, The Newshankuk, March 8, 2017.