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Avatar of GI KoreaBy on December 29th, 2008 at 9:33 am

Sexaul Harassment Incident Stokes Xenophobia at Seoul National University

It looks like the Indian student community is getting their chance to feel what it is like to be unfairly stereotyped due to the action of one person who wasn’t even Indian:

“To avoid suspicious eyes, I used to walk all the way to a classroom instead of riding a shuttle bus.”

So said a 24-year-old graduate student at Seoul National University who also heads the Indian students’ association there.

He said he has suffered from unfounded rumors over sexual harassment perpetrated by a foreign student.

The rumors began at the on-campus Internet bulletin board “SNU Life.” One female student posted a message Nov. 24 that she was sexually harassed by a foreign student who looked Indian on a shuttle bus.

A Dec. 1 post by an anonymous user said she witnessed a foreign student sexually harassing a female student and took a picture of the alleged culprit.

The bulletin board has since been bombarded with derogatory posts targeting students from India, saying things like “Indians look down upon fellow Asians” or “(Indian students) must be expelled.”

Controversy is thus brewing over xenophobia at the country’s top university. For their own safety, school authorities have recommended that Indian students avoid hanging around campus alone.

A probe by the university’s counseling center for victims of sexual harassment and abuse found that a Pakistani student at the engineering graduate school was the culprit. This is the first time for the university to investigate sexual harassment allegedly committed by a foreign student.

The counseling center said the Pakistani sexually harassed five female students. He told school officials that he inadvertently made mistakes due to Pakistani culture, which deems women inferior to men.

“The Indian students’ association felt deeply affronted by this incident,” said a university official. “On the day of the incident, the association launched a voluntary investigation to track the whereabouts of all Indian students and reported the results to school authorities.”

A 31-year-old Indian Ph.D student wrote on the Web that Indian students were greatly offended by responses from Korean students. “It’s wrong and hasty to lash out at all Indians on the comment that ‘He looked like an Indian,’ even though the investigation results have yet to come out,” he said.

“How would a Korean feel if he or she was wrongly blamed for a crime committed by a Chinese or Japanese abroad?”  [Donga Ilbo]

The Pakistani student was wrong for harassing the female students and the differences in culture excuse is laughable and hopefully he is properly punished for what he did.  Now the thing I am wondering is how often the female students at Seoul National University are sexually harassed by Korean students?

Or better yet, when the Korean professors at Seoul National University are busy sexually harassing their students?  How worked up does the student body get when that happens?

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  • JoeC
    3:06 am on December 29th, 2008 1

    Before we get all self righteous, let's not forget something. The first known retaliatory hate crime in the U.S. after 9/11 was not against an Arab or a Muslim but against an Indian Sikh.

    Yes, Koreans have their hang ups against South Asians and dark people, but they are not alone.

  • Brian
    3:11 am on December 29th, 2008 2

    This has nothing to do with discrimination in the US, it's about a harassment case in South Korea.

  • Brian
    5:13 am on December 29th, 2008 3

    But this part is interesting:

    ***

    The counseling center said the Pakistani sexually harassed five female students. He told school officials that he inadvertently made mistakes due to Pakistani culture, which deems women inferior to men.

    ***

  • Xenophobia, Multiculturalism and Sexual Harassment at SNU | The Marmot's Hole
    7:24 pm on December 29th, 2008 4

    [...] (HT to GI Korea) [...]

  • Eujin
    8:30 pm on December 29th, 2008 5

    Err, does that professor link in the Korea Times sound like sexual harassment? Several of the commenters in the KT don't seem to think so. How worked up do you think the student body should get about that case?

  • Jayaprakash
    11:06 pm on December 29th, 2008 6

    Pakistanis are the worst creatures on earth. This is the not first case of its type and many incidents have happened before this. Koreans are in no way inferior in such activities. The world knows that one among the high officials of Hyundai car company was arrested in India for assaulting a receptionist. But Indians are magnanimous. They didn’t criticize the whole South Korea for a crime made by a single Korean. But, it is the other way with Koreans. Indians might be dark in their complexion but are white (pure) at heart. We know what the term “culture” exactly refers to. And we are proud to declare that only in India the culture is maintained still even in the midst of westernization. And also we are proud that only in India still the concept like chastity among boys and girls are given importance than any other countries in the world. So think before spitting anything out the dirty mouths. Jai Hind

  • someone
    11:26 pm on December 29th, 2008 7

    You would think that students attending an ivy league school like SNU would have the intelligence and social upbringing to behave properly against such things… but then again people are people.

  • No One
    12:49 am on December 30th, 2008 8

    White folk shouldn't act so high and mighty about this. It was less than 2 generations ago that a black fellow was strung up under a tree for whistling at a white girl.

  • JapanRulz
    4:38 am on December 30th, 2008 9

    Who is the future president of the US No One?

    SNU is in no way shape or form, an "ivy league" school. Sorry, but only Koreans would think such a thing.

    And let's face it people, the majority South Koreans basically hate dark skinned people, peoples of the 3rd World and just about everyone else.

    Let's not forget last year when Koreans ran cartoons in their newspapers of SE Asian looking men chasing down a young, innocent Korean girl with a knife.

    America isn't perfect, but compared to South Korea, it's paradise for foreigners.

    Why else would Koreans CONTINUE to immigrate there despite them being victimized by the white population?

    Read what Hines Ward's mother has to say about South Koreans and their pathetic xenophobia.

    And to top it all off, racial discrimination IS NOT illegal in Korea!

  • a listener
    8:31 am on December 30th, 2008 10

    #1. The indian attacked in the U.S. was not attacked because he was dark, it was because he was wearing a turban and the idiot who attacked him thought it meant he was Arab.

  • JoeC
    12:26 pm on December 30th, 2008 11

    #10

    That was the point I was making; that there is a large swath of Americans who are as foreign culture and ethnicity ignorant as Koreans. Some Americans would respond the same way on reports of an "Indian looking" perpetrator without knowing or caring that there are many non-Indian but Indian looking South Asian people.

    The analogy with the Sikh victim after 9/11 was meant to show that cultural ignorance also leads some American to automatically believe that if you wear a turban you are an Arab Muslim.

    Unfortunately, we probably have more people in the U.S. who act out violently on their ignorance.

  • Over Half of Korean Female Employees Sexually Harrassed
    10:50 pm on January 1st, 2009 12

    [...] of saying a difference in culture, this Pakistani student accused of sexual harrassment at Seoul National University, should have said he was just practicing to enter the Korean business [...]

  • Korea Beat › South Korean University Students Found to Hold Prejudice Against Foreigners
    9:02 am on February 8th, 2009 13

    [...] publication of this study comes on the heels of the sexual harassment and xenophobia mini-scandal at Seoul National University. This was written by Korea Beat. Posted on Thursday, January 8, [...]

  • justin
    5:30 pm on October 12th, 2009 14

    this is so pathetic. feel sorry for Indians for getting this thing. If its true, then i feel bad for this poor Pakistani fella. its foolish to get trapped by Korean mini skirt smoking hot chicks, for him it’s ok to sexually harrass “oppas” and are so hypocrites about others’ “harassment”. for anybody out there thinking of coming to korea, mind that Korean chicks are known to file against their boyfriends’ “sexual harassments” .
    and the fu*ked up community is no better also. discrimination is seen everywhere. you can’t join the community of afterclass activities. i came from the west and i had no difficulties to do the same in the USA. i thought korea was a cosmopolitan, but got wrong. you gotta be careful in korea with what you do, cuz anything you do does affect foreigners

  • YS choi
    9:51 pm on November 9th, 2011 15

    Meanwhile I been through comments full of criticism. please we should not mask any society for indivdual acts. We should discourage individual crimes but should not blame the whole society. I am really sorry for what published and wrote against Indians and I can feel their emotions. On the other hand SNU has a big community of Pakistan students (specifically in engineering field), who are well mannered with a good character. I discussed the incident and most of them condemned the act and even they expelled the culprit from their company. Even their religion is quite streak against such kind of acts. So we all should not blame a society by someone act because every society has a small number of such peoples. Let’s make the world more beautiful with love and respect. Please stop abusing to any society in the world. Best wishes and love for all……

  • South Korean University Students Found to Hold Prejudice Against Foreigners | KoreaBeat
    3:35 pm on March 10th, 2013 16

    [...] publication of this study comes on the heels of the sexual harassment and xenophobia mini-scandal at Seoul National [...]

 

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