The first rally against Korea’s spycam porn epidemic happened on May 19, 2018, where at least 12,000 women from all walks of life collectively assembled at Central Seoul. The protest was made to end the illegal filming of these women anywhere, deal with negligence on the police side, and appeal against obscene expressions by the press. It eventually led to the founding of an online petition where 200,000 people have participated on the presidential website, arguing for a ban on spycam sales and stricter punishment of criminals.
However, despite the call of women and several rights advocates to end the filming, people are still exercising the said illegal activity. Even certain celebrities and big names in the music industry are found guilty of doing the act. And just recently, a K-pop star has dramatically quit the music business after he admitted to secretly filming himself while having sex with women and then shared the footage.
Jung Joon-Young, 30, said on Wednesday that he filmed women without their consent and shared the videos through a chatroom and added that he did not feel any sense of guilt while doing it. He also promised to permanently drop his career, as well as, TV and music projects in the future.
The K-pop star issue comes a day after Superstar ‘Seungri’ from the popular boy group, Big Bang, quit the industry due to sex bribery charges filed against him. These cases are similar with South Korean Broadcaster SBS who was put into jail in 2016 when he filmed his own sex videos without his partners’ approval and then shared it with friends in a mobile chat group.
Jung, who is guilty of taping 10 or more women, is due to be questioned by police authorities on Thursday. But for now, he repented on his crimes by apologizing to the fans he had outraged and to the women whose privacy he had violated. And on 2016, the singer was also accused of the same illegal act by his ex-girlfriend but withdrew it without apparent reason.
These cases of illegally filming women plagued South Korea in the past years. The country has almost 6,000 cases since 2017 and continues to fight an epidemic of ‘spy cam porn’ until today. Hidden cameras are being placed in toilets, changing rooms in clothing stores, gyms, and swimming pools. The videos are then posted online to feed pornography sites and even ill-minded people.
More than 80 percent of the victims are women, and an overwhelming majority of the suspects are male. Thousands of cases of the so-called spy cam porn are being reported to the police each year with hundreds of victims opt to keep the incident only to themselves. Some are filmed by men who were their close friends and even colleagues at work.
However, several rights advocates claimed that the police had done nothing in the past years to resolve the problem. Authorities countered that the victims did not come forward to file a case against perpetrators properly. But according to these women, coming to the police only made them feel even more vulnerable, especially when these men look them as a sexual object or a piece of meat. Some claimed that the police blamed them for wearing revealing clothes which has nothing to do with being illegally filmed.
One of the reasons why this culture of illegally filming women hasn’t stopped despite protest and petitions is because of the police’s negligent attitude toward female victims. Victim-blaming which is apparent to some officers proves that there is on-going discrimination in South Korea’s System. Oftentimes, women are afraid to speak out because they are being blamed for causing men to do sexual misconduct on them.
Police denied that there was discrimination, but looking through the lens of statistical data, National Police Agency reported that between 2012 and 2017, out of 30,000 male suspects investigated by authorities, less than three percent were detained. While out of 523 female suspects, four were immediately arrested.
The thing is, to base the protesters’ anger solely on the statistical data will lead people away from the central point. Activists are not just angry on the recent issue of Jung or other celebrities who had been caught illegally filming their partners. And more importantly, they are not just upset about police’s treatment on the victims and on the issue itself.
The protesters’ rage stems from years of South Korea’s tolerance regarding spycam pornography and the people who proliferate the crime. This puts women at risk in unexpected places, and they are not safe even from their boyfriends or relatives. It also stems from the lack of a support system for victims whose reputations and even careers get compromised, being blamed incessantly based on the clothes they wear and unlucky enough to star in an ejaculatory fantasy.