There are overflowing issues regarding sexual violence, but surprisingly the history of punishment for sexual violence is short. Sexual violence is an act that causes physical, psychological, and social pain to an individual or group by infringing on an individual’s right to sexual self-determination. Sexual violence is on the rise as modern society develops. Let’s look at the history of legislation on sexual violence.
Until the 1980s, sexual violence was approached as a crime related to chastity as it undermined the honor of a husband or family. However, it has become increasingly visible as violence by state power became more prevalent throughout society. Social interest has increased as sexual violence incidents occurred in an atmosphere of oppression against the labor movement. Then, in 1983, the Korea Women’s Hot Line opened, and dealing with violence against women as a social issue began to develop. As sexual violence occurred that was unrelated to the labor and democratization movements in the 1990s; it was finally recognized as violence against women’s sexuality.
After that, discussions on the law’s enactment began with the Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center. The Special Act on Sexual Violence was passed in 1994 without including the right to sexual self-determination. However, suppose it is limited to violence committed only against women. In that case, it cannot cover sexual violence between men in the military or prison. Therefore, the concept has changed to include sexual molestation, rape, and child sexual harassment, including sexual violence between men and women and same-sex.
Since 1994, the realization that the concept of the law has not been embodied in its application has led to specific contents and punishment provisions being changed through continuous amendments. Efforts are continuing to change social perceptions of sexual violence to infringement of the sexual rights of human beings, not limited to simply violence on women.
Recently, various social changes have occurred, such as increased women’s social advancement and information and communication technology development. In this situation, what changes will the bill on sexual violence face in the future? The changes depend on our efforts.