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성폭력 및 여성 인권 관련 법과 제도를 감시하고 성평등한 사회를 위한 법 제·개정 운동을 소개합니다.
[공동성명/논평] The Korean government opposes the offense of "non-consensual rape" in its response to international organizations? The government should stop regressing on gender equality and take steps to improve the legal framework on sexual violence!
  • 2023-06-13
  • 432


[Joint Statement]

The Korean government opposes the offense of "non-consensual rape" in its response to international organizations?
The government should stop regressing on gender equality and take steps to improve the legal framework on sexual violence!

 

The Korean government opposes the introduction of the "non-consensual rape" offense and submitted a written response to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on June 6th. CEDAW is one of the United Nations bodies that has consistently recommended the revision of the rape offense provisions in the Korean criminal law.


The government stated the following reasons for its opposition. First, it is a "fundamental issue regarding sexual violence crimes." Second, it "effectively shifts the burden of proof to the accused." Third, it has the potential to "undermine women's autonomy and agency." Indeed, the fundamental framework of sexual violence crimes needs to change. Despite the shift from considering rape as a crime against chastity to a violation of sexual self-determination in both legal provisions and societal awareness, the current Article 297 of the Criminal Code still defines rape as requiring elements of physical assault or threat. The burden of proof for such cases still lies predominantly on the victim. According to data from the National Network of Sexual Violence Crisis Centers, 71.4% of rape counseling cases involved incidents without explicit physical assault or threat. We question the government: Does it believe that the occurrence of sexual violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence, and sexual exploitation is solely due to the lack of women's will and ability? If the government overlooks the fact that sexual violence is rooted in structural gender inequality, then who and what is the government serving?


The Korean government's written response represents a "backlash" against gender equality improvement. Despite the decision to "review the revision of rape offenses" in the 3rd Gender Equality Basic Plan, officials from the ruling party incited fear by claiming that "the number of false accusations would increase." As a result, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family withdrew their previous positions and expressed opposition. The government under Yoon Seok-youl's administration is a regression in gender equality, having promised to introduce the concept of "non-guilty rape" in the Special Act on Sexual Violence.


UN bodies such as the UN Human Rights Council, CEDAW, and the Committee against Torture unanimously recommend establishing legal standards for sexual violence based on the principle of "absence of free and voluntary consent." Meanwhile, according to the recently released UN Development Programme Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI) report, among the 38 countries surveyed, Korea ranked as the country with the highest deepening of biases against gender equality. Yet, rather than working to improve this situation, the government's stance opposing the revision of rape offenses will only reinforce gender discrimination in Korean society.


We demand that the Korean government no longer regress the lives of its citizens. Do not strengthen the deeply ingrained perception and culture of sexual violence that has persistently demanded severe physical force and resistance for 70 years. Cease obstructing the revision of rape offenses in the criminal law. Embrace the societal changes. We want to live as equal sexual citizens in a society that promotes gender equality.

 

June 13, 2023


240 women's and civil society organizations.

Coalition for the Revision of Rape Laws, Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center, Seoul Women Workers Asscociation, Seoul Women Association, Seoul women’s association University students branch, Sarangbang group for Human Rights, Suwon women’s hotline, Korea Women’s Political Solidarity, Incheon Women's Association, Realization of Worth Living Public Welfare Solidarity, Chuncheon WomenLink, Wellspring of peace, Catholic Counseling Center for Sexual Abuse "Wellspring of Peace", orean Women’s environmental network, Jeju Women's Association, Women`s Rights Plus of Korea, Korea Women's Associations United, Korea Cyber Sexual Response Center, Justice Party/Geumcheon, Women with Disabilities Empathy, WomenLink, Tacteennail, National Silidarity aganist Sexual Exploitation of Women and others.