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  • Writer's pictureAlexander Han

The “exploitation of comfort women” and “exploitation of women” movements are quite atrocious.

A wall newspaper was put up on the building of the Korean Women's Associations United the other day, stating that “the women’s organizations have become lost in their political greed, and are now the same as the culprit of the incident involving Park Won-soon, former mayor of Seoul”. This was put up by a female activist who calls herself the youngest activist. This was a response of outrage sparked by the discovery that the information of the impending sexual harassment lawsuit against former mayor, Park Won-soon, was leaked to him and his aides through Nam In-soon (a congressperson belonging to the ruling Democratic Party of Korea who has also once been the leader of the women’s organization), Nam’s aides, and the current leader of the group that Nam was formerly the leader of. Not only did Nam take the side of the assailant of sexual harassment, she put the victim in a dangerous position. Nam repeatedly and persistently asserted that the victim should be referred to as “supposed victim”. Another 4-times-elected congressperson who supported this was also a former leader of an organization that is part of the Korean Women's Associations United.

The Korean Women's Associations United, an organization with around 30 years of history, has played an important role in the expansion of women’s rights. However, as it stands now, it is under criticism for its “selective outrage”, a partisan rage that is heavily influenced by its political standing. Even though the sexual crime itself is the same, they launch a fierce assault when the problem arises from the opposition party, while staying silent or even moving to protect the assailant if the problem comes from the ruling party. There are around a dozen people who were formally leaders of a group within the Korean Women's Associations United who have moved on to become prime ministers, cabinet members, or representatives through the Democratic Party. They are no longer a women’s organization, but an “organization that exploits women”.

When the courts ruled that the Japanese government must pay reparations to the victims of the Japanese army’s comfort women program, congressperson Yoon Mee-hyang from the Democratic Party issued a statement, saying “I wish the problem is resolved correctly in accordance to justice and as soon as possible”. Congressperson Yoon Mee-hyang is currently facing six lawsuits including embezzlement and breach of trust, for the way she used funds raised during the Wednesday demonstrations while she was the director of the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance and the leader of the Korean Council for Justice and Remembrance for the Issues of Military Sexual Slavery by Japan. For her to discuss justice is truly atrocious.

The ruling party currently has around 20 congress people who are from citizens’ groups. How many can put a hand over their hearts and say honestly that they have nothing in their past that betrays their conscience? A democratic movement that exploits democracy, an environmental movement that exploits the environment, an anti-Japanese movement that exploits ethnicity, a human rights movement that exploits human rights, a women’s rights movement that exploits women, a comfort women movement that exploits comfort women - the list is almost endless.


The Chosun Ilbo editorial (January 11th, 2021)

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