‘It’s going to always be on someone’s computer’: digital sex crimes haunt South Korean women | #itsecurity | #infosec

South Korea’s state-of-the-art technology is hitting a wave of digital sex crimes targeting young women and girls.

According to victims, researchers and advocacy groups, South Korea is a global center for illegal shooting and explicit image and video sharing.

Digital technologies such as high-speed streaming and encrypted chat rooms have provided new means for propagation. Deeply embedded sexism Disseminate materials depicting sexual violence against women.

Heather Barr, co-director of women’s rights at Human Rights Watch, said:

The country has the highest ownership of adult smartphones in the world and one of the fastest internet speeds, with 99.5% of households having access to the internet.It was also the first country 5G service started..

A new HRW report, based on interviews with victims and their families, emphasizes that crime generally involves intimate images captured and disseminated by both strangers and female acquaintances.

In one case, Lee Ye-lin * discovered that a watch given as a gift by her employer was streaming video from her bedroom for weeks.

“What happened happened in my room, so sometimes … I’m scared in my room for no reason,” Lee said. She added that even a year after the crime was discovered, she still relies on prescription drugs to combat depression and anxiety.

Another victim, Kang Eugene *, was forced to quit his job and move home after his ex-partner published a personal photo with identifiable details such as his home or office address. It was.

“There was a man who wanted to contact me at the church my parents attended … and there was a man who sent me [messages] Have sex. Some men came to my house to work, “she said.

Researchers have pointed out that suicide is also widespread, beyond the risk of stigma and harassment.

“I am very afraid of my future,” said another victim, Oh Sujin *. “It will always be on someone’s computer.[I thought]’I want to stop this, but this problem will never end. .. .. So if this doesn’t stop, I want to stop my life. “

Digital sex crimes are a global issue, but a report released Wednesday by US-based HRW also reveals South Korea’s relatively light punishment and lack of protection against victims of digital sex crimes.

“Criminal law officials (mostly men) often simply do not understand or seem to accept these as very serious crimes. .. Survivors often appear to be legal. They have been forced to deal with these crimes for the rest of their lives with little help from them, “Bur said.

Despite rising public awareness and legislative changes, the number of sexual offenses involving illegal photography continues to grow.

Last year, student researchers and police discovered a secret chat room with images of child sexual abuse in a Telegram messaging app. This material was viewed by 260,000 people, according to estimates by the Korea Cyber ​​Sexual Violence Response Center.

According to the Korea Women’s Human Rights Promotion Association, the number of cases related to illegal shooting and distribution of images and videos increased by 70% from 2019 to nearly 7,000 last year, strengthening reporting efforts. is showing.

However, there are few cases of punishment. According to HRW, prosecutors withdrew 44% of digital sex crimes in 2019, and nearly 80% of those convicted of taking intimate images without consent will be suspended and fined in 2020. , Or a combination of the two.

Last year, a South Korean court was convicted of running one of the world’s largest child pornography websites after being sentenced to just 18 months in prison for violating South Korean child protection laws. I have rejected the US delivery request for a man.

the government Unable to deal with gender inequalityAnalysts say they are fostering digital sex crimes.

A female Air Force sergeant took her life after being sexually harassed by a male colleague last month, and the Air Force allegedly tried to cover up the case. Her death caused public turmoil, forcing Air Force Chief Lee Sung-young to resign.

Despite the need for stricter action after a series of attention #MeToo case involving K-POP stars And for senior politicians, little progress has been made to stop the abuse of women throughout South Korea’s patriarchal society.

The country is ranked 102 out of 156 in the 2021 World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, with the largest gender inequality in economic participation and opportunity in developed countries.

According to HRW, Korean women work four times more unpaid than men and earn 32.5% less.

“The root cause of digital sex crimes in South Korea is widely accepted by the harmful views and actions of women and girls that the government needs to address urgently,” Barr said.

* Renamed

If you are influenced by something in this story and need help, you can contact Lifeline Korea (1588-9191)... In the UK, there are Samaritans at 116123. The US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is located at 1-800-273-8255.

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