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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Writer Kwak Jung Eun speaks out against sexual harassment against women

Article: Kwak Jung Eun, "I was sexually harassed when I was 5 years old... women need to learn to become stronger"

Source: Newsen via Nate

"Today I want to talk about self esteem. I think that someone who knows how to love themselves is someone with high self esteem.

One of the ways to raise your self esteem is to establish close relationships with other people. One thing women who've gone through painful relationships have in common is that they're afraid of being alone. I think I have to make a painful confession, and it's something that I haven't told anywhere else.

It was a normal day that day. My father left for a construction site and my mother left to deliver something when an ajusshi I didn't know came into our store with his hat pressed low. I was 5 years old and he asked me where my parents had gone and I told him that they wouldn't be back for a while. He sat on the sofa and sat me on his lap and started taking my pants off. I instinctively knew that something was wrong so I screamed as loudly as I could. He threw me aside and ran out of the store.

That wasn't the end of the sexual harassment I've endured though. I thought that I was the only one who suffered from men who would touch my chest and run away but learned that many other women were victims to it as well. It happened to me in middle school and I remember coming face to face with a pervert in high school too. Later when I got a job, I went on a business trip overseas and had to run out of my hotel because of a man who forced his way into my room.

What's surprising is that when I share these stories, my friends all recount similar experiences. Women are often exposed to small or big experiences of sexual harassment and these experiences adding up lead to the notion that it's dangerous to be alone.

I, too, felt that it was too dangerous to be alone, which is why I was once married but later separated. I don't think that women need to learn the hard way like I did. I think you need to feel that it's when you trust yourself and your own strength that you can become the happiest and strongest version of yourself. You need to trust yourself to believe that you're okay even when you're alone, and it's when you reach that understanding that you can find a partner for yourself who makes you happy with just the two of you."


1. [+888, -27] There used to be so many instances of sexual harassment back then... it's only in our current generation where those issues are recognized as actual issues. So many sick perverts back then... tsk

2. [+760, -32] So many inhumane people out there... I doubt there's anyone who hasn't been victim to sexual harassment these days

3. [+545, -29] Back then when almost every house had a house phone, there were a lot of perverted calls too... Whenever a kid picked up, the pervs would act like they were their dad's friend and say such weird things ㅠㅠ

4. [+82, -28] I'm sure the majority of women can relate to this, but barely any men...

5. [+72, -5] I'm in my mid forties now but when I look back, I realize just how much sexual harassment I've suffered in my life... men sitting me down on their lap, pulling at my bra strap, stroking my thighs, massaging my ears, etc... I didn't know that it was sexual harassment then and wrote them off as pervs... heck, there weren't even laws back then about it so I didn't know anything ㅜㅜ I'm sure all those bald pervs are dead now but it made me feel so dirty...

6. [+49, -4] I still remember when I went to my friend's house and her uncle said he'd teach me an exercise trick and told me to lay down while he got on top of me, or that time I was in an alley way and someone touched me and ran, both when I was 8 years old, or both times when I was on a bus late at night and people groped my thigh... when these things actually happen to you, you don't know what to do. You wonder if you should scream, or if anyone would care if you screamed.. Your body tenses up and you can't even let out a peep. Now that I'm older I know that I'd probably take my heel off and whack them with it but when you're younger, you don't know what to do or say. You pervs, stop messing with children!!!!!

7. [+32, -0] Also, don't let your little girls go to public pools by herself. There are pervs who hide in the water and stick their hands into their swimsuit bottoms.

8. [+31, -0] Yeah, most women have experienced something like this at least once or twice in their life. I only know one friend who hasn't gone through any of this but it was because she came from a chaebol family and took a school bus every day. I told my husband about some of these things after we got married and he didn't believe me ㅜ

9. [+30, -2] For the victims, the trauma of these experiences last their entire lives.

10. [+21, -0] I once confessed to my friends that I was sexually harassed once in elementary school and two my friends calmly said that they had similar experiences too.. I always thought it was only me but learned that all women go through it in their lives...

11. [+20, -5] I think it's cool that she's able to confess a painful part of her past to help other women find the bravery to live with their own pains... I hope that society changes for the better



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