Since I have been in Korea, I have seen women hit, pushed over, called all the names in the book of what a woman could be called. I have seen a girl grabbed by her hair and pulled down the street. I have stopped a drunken girl from being pushed into a taxi by three Korean men who obviously didn’t have good intentions, and today I have had Korean girlfriends tell me, “he hit me, but i still love him even though i am having to wear an eyepatch today….he did it because he loves me.” If he loved you he wouldn’t hit or ever raise a hand to a woman no matter how bad the argument. Which brings me to today’s topic: abuse in relationships in Korea and specifically to women.
In today’s world there are abusive relationships all over. No culture, religion, race, ethnicity is exempt from this, but I have noticed from personal experiences and also the statistics show Korea has a very high rate of abuse especially against women.
First, in Korea, most people turn a blind eye to abuse of women, even if it happens on the street right in front of them. People in Korea, culturally have been taught don’t stick your nose into things even when what is being done is wrong on so many levels. Many other cultures such as: Americans, Europeans, would not stand for this in public, but Koreans as a whole will walk on by a woman getting physically or verbally abused.
Secondly, Korea is very much a man’s culture. The men normally work for the money in the household, and control the household even if they give the paycheck to their wives they are behind the scenes manipulating how things are ran in the household without the woman’s say at all. Many foreigners coming into Korea see this as a 1930s-1950s America where women have no say and the man beats her because he loves her or to discipline her. Many foreigners strongly dislike this part of Korean culture. Also, there is a lack of any support system for women in Korea, and this even stems from society in the absence of victim hotlines or help from even the local police. There are not many outreach groups or centers for women in life-threatening situations. Sometimes a woman’s own family will not believe her or will tell her to deal with the abuse.
Third, women here are just beginning to fight back against abuse in Korea. They are just now starting to take a stand and speak out against relationship abuse in Korea, both of the physical and verbal kind, but nobody man or woman; Korean or American, black or white should stand for verbal or physical abuse. After living in Korea for over a year I want all people to stand up against abuse in relationships because that is the only way a change will come about.