Issued on: 07/06/2021 – 7:16 amChanged: 06/07/2021 – 07:14 AM
A two-star South Korean army general was arrested for sexually molesting a female subordinate, officials said Tuesday, in the latest high-profile sex crime to rock the country’s military.
The case comes just a month after the country’s air force chief resigned over the suicide of a sergeant sexually assaulted by a colleague.
She reported the case higher up the chain of command only to have her complaints ignored and committed suicide in May.
That sparked a national outcry in South Korea, which maintains a conscript army to defend itself against the nuclear-armed north.
In the most recent case, the brigadier general allegedly made inappropriate physical advances to a subordinate after a dinner with other soldiers.
Action will be taken after a “thorough investigation” of the arrested officer, said Defense Ministry spokesman Boo Seung-chan.
The military will provide “legal and institutional assistance” to the victim, he added.
Amid intense criticism of the handling of the Air Force abuse case, officials called for sexual abuse complaints to be filed in June and reportedly opened investigations into around 20 other allegations.
The brief interval between the two cases led to allegations that the military had failed to prevent sex crimes.
“At this rate it now seems as if the main enemy of the female soldiers is not North Korea, but male superiors,” wrote a user on Naver, the country’s largest portal.
Despite its rapid rise to a center of industrial power, South Korean society remains socially conservative, and victims of sexual harassment are often pressured to remain silent for fear of public shame.
But after the country’s #MeToo movement, sparked in 2018 by Prosecutor Seo Ji-hyun, who publicly accused a supervisor of groping her at a funeral, there were signs of change, leading many others to abandon theirs To share stories.
© 2021 AFP