After seeing so many people outed or convicted on claims or charges of sexual misconducts in America in recent years, South Korea is facing its own scandal among world-popular K-Pop groups.
Famously, South Koreans have had a problem with hidden cameras in hotel rooms, changing rooms and public bathrooms, with as many as 6,400 reported incidents in 2017 alone, according to South Korean police reports. South Korean police have organized teams armed with infrared scanners to spot hidden cameras in response.
While police have identified more than 26,000 victims of illicit filming between 2012 and 2016, because of the secrecy of the filming, many victims may not even realize they’re victims. This is only an estimate of what cameras have been found investigating, and criminology professor at Soonchunhyang University, Oh Yoon-sung, states the numbers would likely be “10 times higher” if they knew the full extent.
From hiding cameras in a motel room, a place where no one should ever fear unsolicited filming, the new scandal within the K-pop industry now touches on privacy and relationship issues in unsolicited filming between consensual sexual partners.
Recently, news about a group chat involving some very big names in the K-pop music scene was dropped. The group chat was used to discuss and share videos of sexual relations the men were allegedly having with women, included videos of allegedly drugged women. The members of the group chat responded with chuckles.
One man, Jung Joon-Young was arrested and, according to the Hollywood Reporter, could face up to seven years in prison. Others involved are BIGBANG’s Seungri and F.T. Island’s Choi Jong-Hoon.
These cases within the #Metoo moment extend to violations of trust between two individuals. Consenting to a sexual relationship should be respected and held in the highest regard. To have that trust broken by secretly video taping and sending it to a bunch of friends is not only completely repulsive, but it is a violation of privacy that could well affect a person’s reputation.
The individual not only is unaware of filming, but is also unaware about where that film is watched, how many times it is watched and who watches it. Women should not fear the consenting relationships with men, even if it was only a one-night stand. To have that trust broken, sent to a group chat and now having this all brought into the public eye cannot be easy.
It takes courage to deal with this everyday, even if no one knows it was you. You don’t just forgive and forget. You are still hurt about being disrespected, and now you are constantly on edge if your name is revealed. These women are strong, and although none of them were physically assaulted, they were still scarred by this situation.
The relationship may have been consensual, but the recordings were not. This epidemic has caused women of South Korea to take action, and last year, a demonstration was hosted in Seoul where “tens of thousands of women took to the street of Seoul and other cities to protest against the practice and demand action, under the slogan ‘My Life is Not Your Porn.’”
This attack on unsolicited filming is another step toward social change within the #Metoo Movement, which is now visibly spreading beyond its American roots. While all situations are very different, it is still crucial to stand behind women who are seeking truth, justice and to see a visible change from the current fear of cameras they have now.