High rates of subway sexual harassment in Korea and Japan

Two weeks ago The Korean Times reported that sexual harassment on the subway in Seoul is up 26 percent since last year.

“The incidents include male offenders trying to grope women or take pictures up their skirts.

A total of 345 cases were reported in the first half of this year. In April, when unusually high temperatures hit the nation, such offenses reached a high of 78 and since then, more than 50 cases have been reported each month, police said.

Most of the offenders said they did it out of curiosity.

The actual number of cases might be higher than the published data because many women are afraid of reporting the incidents, a police spokeswoman said.”

I wonder if there were unusually low reports of sexual harassment last year to make the 26 percent jump this year or were reports indeed higher this year than in years past?

At the end of 2007, The Korea Times reported that women-only subway cars were to be reintroduced in Seoul in 2008 as part of an effort to curb sexual harassment of female passengers. Two cars of each subway train on all lines were designated just for women. The current article doesn’t address the women-only cars and whether or not that has had an impact.

Speaking of countries with women-only subway cars, The Japan Times just published an article about subway groping in Tokyo. Last year in Tokyo alone there were 2,000 reported cases of men groping women! From the article:

“According to an MPD study last year, most attacks occurred on trains, primarily during morning rush hours.

Almost half of the victims were in their 20s and more than 30 percent were teenagers.

Last year saw police process 2,169 ordinance violations — the lowest number in the past four years. Police attributed the fall to the 2005 introduction of female-only train cars.”

The article goes on to cover information like “how can someone avoid being a victim?” and “can innocent people be convicted?” without any information about the men who engage in this behavior and how to make them STOP! Because guess what, women wouldn’t have to avoid being a victim and innocent men wouldn’t be falsely accused if there was no groping!!

One Response to High rates of subway sexual harassment in Korea and Japan

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