A new MBC drama is getting a lot of buzz because of the attention it is bringing to the issue of rape in South Korea:
Recently, rape has been one of the top keywords in local news headlines. The number of victims is constantly increasing along with suicide rates, and meanwhile the Korean government has not yet taken action to alleviate this tragic issue. Currently, Korean law regarding the crime of sexual assault is weak enough to allow the prosecutor to claim that the defendant’s wrongdoings came from a lack of consciousness or inability to resist the urge to attack due to overdrinking.
Even when the case is taken to court, the victim is often exposed to irrational interrogations regarding her attire at the time of the assault, how many drinks she had, or comments she made that may have had the potential to appear provocative. Such legal and social factors have resulted in crimes that were lightly punished, bringing some cases to an unfair end.
Despite an uproar that they knew would follow, MBC has attempted to redefine rape in South Korea through today’s most talked-about TV drama, I Miss You. The story begins with two characters, Han Jung-woo (played by Park Yoo-chun) and Lee Soo-yeon (played by Yoon Eun-hye), who lose contact with each other as teenagers after a traumatic event. Although the drama does not explicitly detail the scene, many have commented on the disturbing idea of depicting a 15-year-old, Soo-yeon, being assaulted in front of Jung-woo. While is it difficult for viewers to take in such a heartbreaking scene, the drama offers a realistic portrayal of current issues and puts Korean women of all ages on alert to the potential dangers. [10 Magazine]
Most ROK Drop readers know how many people have been able to get rape sentenced reduced by claiming they were drunk. The most outrageous example of light sentences against sex offenders that I can think of is when a handicapped girl raped for years by family members was returned to them after they received suspended jail terms. To be fair though the Korean Supreme Court has recently ruled that being drunk is no longer a valid excuse for rape. This recent decision does not mean that light sentencing for crimes against women in Korea is going away totally. I have to wonder if rapists instead of using the drunk defense will instead now go back to using the she didn’t resist enough defense? Hopefully this drama can continue to draw attention to this issue and hopefully stiffen the punishment for rape.
You can watch “I Miss You” for free over at DramaFever.com.