Via Tales of Wonderlost, who also passes on a translation by Opress-Crackatron3000:

Protesting sexual harassment and violence against women


1. Remember that your presence can be threatening to women walking alone at night

2. If a woman is walking in front of you alone at night, slow down. You walking quickly or speeding up can be and in most cases is threatening

3. If you’ve been drinking and are drunk, go straight home.

4. Do not pick a fight or aggravate women walking at night

5. Do not take off your clothes or publicly urinate

6. Be careful to make sure you do not touch or hit someone, even on accident.

7. If, late at night, you come to a situation in which you and a woman have to ride an elevator together, let her go up first and wait for the elevator to come back down.

8. If there’s a woman in a public restroom (There are Korean public restrooms with no gender or sex markings that are open to all people), wait for her to finish and come out first before using the restroom.

9. Report broken streetlights to the police

10. Tell other men about these rules and that they have a responsibility to not threaten women walking at night

Please share as much as possible!

Related Post: Groping in Korea: Just How Bad Is It?

Sexual Harrasment on Intercity Buses


Of course, I’ve never been sexually harassed on an overnight bus myself. But then I’ve never seen it happen nor heard anyone ever complaining about it either, nor have any of my female friends (Korean or Western). Are things really as bad as this article makes out?

[Why] 불 꺼진 심야고속버스, 술 취한 손이 내 가슴을…An express night bus with the lights off, a drunken hand on my breast

性추행·만취 난동 끊이지 않는 ‘달리는 범죄 사각지대’로, 유일한 안전요원은 운전기사 / [Becoming] a ‘running blind spot of crime’ with constant sexual molestation, intoxicated disturbances, and the driver the sole security officer

지난 12일 자정 무렵 광주발(發) 서울행(行) 심야 우등 고속버스 안. 버스가 출발한 지 10분 만에 한 여성이 소리를 질렀다. 막 고속도로에 진입한 버스는 갓길에 멈춰 섰다. 비명을 지른 20대 여성은 운전기사에게 자리를 바꿔달라고 했다. 여성 승객은 얼굴만 붉힐 뿐 이유를 얘기하지 않았다. 버스에 빈자리가 없어 운전기사는 여성 승객의 요구를 들어줄 수 없었다.

Inside the premium express night bus from Gwangju to Seoul around midnight on the 12th. Just ten minutes after the bus departed, a woman screamed. The bus, which had just entered the expressway, came to a stop on the shoulder of the road. The twenty-something woman who had screamed asked the bus driver to change her seat. She would not say the reason why, and she was only blushing. There were no empty seats on the bus so the bus driver could not grant her request (source, right).

고속버스가 다시 출발한 지 10분 정도가 지나자 또다시 비명이 들렸다. 버스는 재차 갓길에 멈췄다. 이 여성은 운전기사에게 “옆자리에 앉은 남자가 가슴을 만졌다”고 말했다. 술에 취한 듯 보이는 남성은 잠든 척했다. 이후 남성의 성추행은 한 차례 더 이어졌고, 고속버스는 예정에 없이 고속도로 갓길과 휴게소에 3차례 정차한 후 목적지인 서울에 도착했다. 50대 남성은 도착 후 유유히 사라졌고, 20대 여성 승객은 얼굴을 가린 채 울면서 황급히 자리를 떴다.

The bus had been back on the road for about ten minutes when a scream was heard again. The bus stopped on the shoulder for the second time.  The [same] woman told the bus driver, “The man sitting next to me touched my breast.” The man, who looked drunk, pretended to be asleep. After this, the man’s sexual molestation happened once more, and after the bus had made three unplanned stops on the expressway shoulder and a rest stop, it reached its Seoul destination.  The fifty-something man calmly disappeared after arrival, and the young female passenger left her seat hurriedly, crying with her face covered.


심야 고속버스에서 성추행·흡연·난동 등이 빈번히 일어나고 있다. 늦은 밤 편히 휴식을 취하며 빠른 시간에 목적지에 가려는 이들이 선호하는 심야 고속버스가 ‘달리는 범죄의 사각지대’가 된 셈이다. 문제는 술에 취해 조용한 버스 안에서 고성방가를 일삼고 성추행까지 저질러도 제지할 방법이 마땅치 않다는 것이다.

In the express night bus, sexual molestation, smoking, and other disturbances occur frequently. This bus, preferred by people who want to relax comfortably late at night while quickly getting to their destination, has become a‘running blind spot of crime.The problem is that though someone becomes intoxicated and sings loudly in the quiet bus, or even commits sexual molestation, there is no suitable method of restraining them.

심야 고속버스는 출발과 동시에 전등을 끈다. 승객들의 취침을 위해 소등하는 것이 운전기사들에게는 의무처럼 돼 있다. 버스 안이 어두워 성추행이나 도난을 당해도 주변에서는 범행을 목격하기가 힘들다. 동부익스프레스 관계자는 “회사 모든 버스에 블랙박스를 설치했지만, 버스 내부는 인권 침해 소지가 있어 촬영하지 않는다”고 했다. 설사 버스 내부를 촬영할 수 있다고 하더라도 버스의 출발과 동시에 소등을 해 범행 현장 촬영은 불가능하다.

The lights are turned off in an express night bus as soon as it departs. Putting out the lights so passengers can sleep has become like a duty for drivers.  Because the inside of the bus is dark, even if one is sexually molested or stolen from, those nearby have trouble seeing the criminal behavior.  A source from Dongbu Express said, “The company installed a black box in all the buses, but because it is a possible civil rights violation, we don’t film inside the bus.”  Even if he had said they could film inside the bus, the lights are turned off after departure so filming the crime would be impossible.


심야 고속버스에서 범행이 일어날 경우 제지할 사람이 없다는 것도 문제로 지적된다. 운전기사가 유일한 안전요원이다. 버스 안에서 소란이 일어나거나 범죄가 발생하면 운전기사는 달리는 고속버스를 갓길이나 인근 휴게소에 세워야 한다. 한 버스 운전기사는 “취객이 버스 안에서 성추행을 일삼는 경우가 많다”며 “피해 여성이 항의하면 어쩔 수 없이 고속도로 순찰대에 연락해 조치를 한다”고 했다. 고속도로 치안을 담당하는 고속도로순찰대가 도착하기 전까지 정시에 목적지에 도착하기 위해 달려야 하는 고속버스는 갓길이나 인근 휴게소에서 멈춰야 한다. 고속도로순찰대 관계자는 “심야 고속버스에서 종종 신고가 들어와 톨게이트나 휴게소로 출동해 범인을 인근 지구대에 인계한다”며 “순찰대가 30㎞마다 하나 정도 있다”고 했다.

Another problem that has been noted is that there is no one to stop criminal behavior that arises on the express night bus. If a disturbance arises or a crime is committed inside the bus, the driver must stop the express bus on the side of the road or at a nearby rest stop.  One bus driver said, “There are many cases in which drunken passengers sexually molest others several times inside the bus,” adding, “if the female victims complain, we have no choice but to contact the highway patrol station and take action.”  Before highway patrol,which is responsible for public order on the highway, arrives, the express bus that should keep moving in order to reach its destination at a fixed time has to stop on the shoulder or at a nearby rest stop. A highway patrol source said, “We sometimes receive reports from express night buses so we go to a toll-gate or rest stop and then we hand the criminal over to a nearby small police station,” and noted, “There’s highway patrol station every 30 kilometers or so.”

고속버스 운전기사는 취객에 대한 승차 거부를 할 수 있다. 그러나 심야 고속버스에서 술에 취한 승객을 보는 것은 어렵지 않다. 복수의 고속버스 운전기사들은 “취객들에 대한 단속은 절실하지만 승객을 한명이라도 더 태워야 하는 회사의 입장이 우선시되면서 승차거부를 하는 경우는 거의 없다”고 했다.

Express night bus drivers can refuse service to passengers.  However, it is not difficult to find drunken passengers on these buses.  Several [Marilyn – not sure if “several” is right; two Korean friends said it seems the reporter made a writing mistake with the word he used] express bus drivers said, “[The need for] crackdowns on drunken passengers is desperate, but the company’s position that every passenger counts is a priority so there are almost no cases of refusing service.”

고속버스와 경쟁 관계인 KTX·새마을호 등 철도의 경우 국토해양부 소속 철도특별사법경찰대 대원들이 심야시간 등 취약시간에 직접 열차에 탑승한다. 이들에겐 수갑·포승·가스분사기 등의 용품과 함께 범인을 현장에서 체포할 수 있는 권한이 있다.

In the cases of the KTX, Saemaeul, and other railway companies that are the economic competitors of express buses, officers from the Railway Special Judicial Police, part of the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, are on board late at night and at other vulnerable times.  They have the authority to arrest criminals on-the-spot with necessities like handcuffs, policeman’s rope, and tear gas guns. (end)


With thanks again to Marilyn for translating it, that was the most read article on Naver a few weeks ago. Personally, I thought that stopping 3 times without alerting the authorities was unbelievably negligent of the first bus driver, and while fortunately it sounds like that’s not company policy, there’s no indication that he or she was punished for doing so either. Also, in one of the few other news stories on this subject I could find, it was actually the bus driver himself(!) that was accused of harassment in a separate incident in December 2010 (click on the picture above for a link to a Korean news video with a transcript), the video footage of which suggests that although Dongbu Express may well not film inside buses because of potential civil rights violations, curiously other companies don’t seem to have any such qualms.

Meanwhile, if anyone would like more information on sexual harassment in Korea, please see here for more on groping and general street harassment specifically, or here and here for more on sexual harassment in Korean workplaces.


Studying Korean Social Issues Can Be Fun…

(Sources: left, right)

And using manhwa (만화), or Korean cartoons, is a good place to start. Sadly, my favorite “grown-up” comic-book poptoon (팝툰) sold its last edition back in March, but there’s lot’s more where that came from.

One possibility is Department Head Dal-ma (Dalmagwajang; 달마과장), available in the free Focus newspaper. Although it’s often very basic, requiring no Korean ability to get the gist of, you could do much worse than quickly translating it on your morning commute.

Take these two strips for instance, which kept cropping up in Naver searches while I was preparing a recent post on sexual harassment in Korea. First, number 21:

Dal-ma: Gulp.

Man: Miss Kim, what did you have for lunch?

Miss Kim: I simply had ricecake at the park.

Even from just these first panels, already one thing of interest is that the man uses banmal (반말), or informal speech to speak to Miss Kim, and she replies in nopimmal (높임말), formal speech. No big deal there you might say: he’s probably her superior in the company. And as this recent incident on a subway demonstrated, using the appropriate level of speech to others is considered extremely important in Korea, with even many of my university students using nopimmal to friends just a few months older.

But then the same happens in the second cartoon too, even though the man addresses the woman with the semi-formal shi (씨) at the end of her name. And while a brief survey of other Dalmagwajang cartoons does occasionally show men and women each using nopimmal to each other, I didn’t see any cases of a woman speaking to a man in banmal and he answering in nopimmal. Which is not to say that they don’t exist necessarily, but if there are any then I’d wager there’d be very few.

If so, then is that just a reflection of reality? After all, women do tend to have junior and/or non-advancing positions in Korean workplaces, as even in 2011 it considered perfectly normal for them to resign and/or be fired upon marriage or becoming pregnant (only 50% of Korean women work, the lowest rate in the OECD).

(Source: unknown)

But on the other hand, recall that even subtitles for foreign films and programs have this gender-dichotomy grafted onto them too, despite being absent in the original English:

A women’s group has issued a report on the “sexist” dubbing of foreign films and dramas, reports women’s newspaper Ilda The group took a look at some 27 English-language dramas shown on terrestrial broadcasting in September and October.  It found that most of them employed sexist sexist practices when dubbed into Korean.  Namely, male characters spoke in banmal, or “low language,” while female characters used jondaenmal, or “high/respectful” language, even though the original English dialogue made no such distinctions.

This tendency was most often seen in dialogue between husbands and wives or lovers.  Besides dramas, foreign films showed the same tendency, with 12 of 15 films monitored by the group employing this dubbing practice.

Clearly then, for TV at least there is a compulsion to conform to it. Whether that’s just the industry convention, fear of negative public reaction, and/or the personal choices of the translators themselves, then that remains to be seen, but I’d be surprised if that didn’t apply to some extent to other forms of media. And either way, you’re left with a pretty pervasive socialization agent, and one easy to overlook for English speakers, and/or even easier to get used to for native Korean speakers.

Man: Ah, why didn’t you invite me? I pound ricecakes really well…No, well, I eat them well…

Miss Kim: (Laughing) What do you mean?

Dal-ma: Even acting like that, he won’t get accused of sexual harassment?

Next, despite its curious reputation for conservatism overseas, in fact the Korean media is simply full of sexual innuendo, and this cartoon read by millions every weekday is surely a classic case in point: “떡을 치다” is literally “pounding rice cake”, but is really slang for having sex. Which is why a year ago, a cartoonist was sued for sexual harassment by Girls’ Generation’s (소녀시대) management company SM Entertainment for this otherwise innocuous-looking cartoon:


This might sound strange, but personally I find that slang quite endearing. For not only does it seem quintessentially Korean (here’s another example), but with most Koreans living in the countryside until as recently as 1979, then it reminds me of the country’s strong agricultural roots too (no pun intended).

Ahem. Continuing:

Dal-ma: Still, if something is judged sexual harassment or not all depends on your face (how attractive you look)

Woman left: He really said that?

Woman middle: (Laughing) Really?

Dal-ma: Wow! Look at her chest!

Dal-ma: Jeez, how can’t they feel ashamed to wear clothes that emphasize their breasts like that…

Eek, I forgot! Staring is also sexual harassment.

Dal-ma: (Worried) For no reason, because of a misunderstanding I’d be called a bald pervert.

Woman: Eek! It’s sexual harassment!

Having a shaved head myself, then I couldn’t help but chuckle at the unnecessary mention of his baldness here, as if that somehow makes his perversion all the worse. But with shaved heads being best known as a symbol of “prison, protest, or penance” in Korea, then unfortunately those negative connotations aren’t likely to go away any time soon.

Woman: Sexual harassment!

Dal-ma: No, it’s not that…

Women in background: Bald pervert!

Dal-ma’s daughter: What’s wrong with Dad?

Dal-ma’s wife: He’s like that because working at the office is tiring.

Next, number 57 (as I type this, the latest is number 327 by the way). Sorry for the poor image quality:

Woman (Eun-hee): Good morning!

Man: Good morning! Eun-hee, you bought new clothes?

Eun-hee: Yes, because it’s the end of the year I spent a lot on myself

Man: Wow, your back is a killer!

Eun-hee: Really?

Man: Yes, you’ve a perfect Honey-bottom!

Despite what the man says in a moment, that’s the first time I’ve heard the term ggooldongi, a combination of ggol (꿀; honey) and ongdongee (엉덩이; bottom). But I have heard (and written about) ggoolbokji (꿀벅지) that it comes from though, which, as Matt at Gusts of Popular Feeling explained:

…apparently means, according to this article and allkpop, ‘sweet-as-honey thighs’ or “alluring as-if they-were-coated-with-honey thighs”, though a more creative, if incorrect, translation would be ‘alluring thighs that spread like honey.’ Ahem.

And in particular:

…a ‘high school girl living in Cheonan’ posted a petition on the Ministry of Gender Equality’s website claiming that the word ‘honey thighs’ actually means ‘thighs that you want to smear honey all over and lick off’, and represented the sexual commodification of a female body part, was sexual harassment, “induced a feeling of sexual shame” and said its use should be banned. She was also irritated that such a ‘sexually derogatory word’ was used by the media and asked that it stop. According to allkpop, “Even Korean portal site Daum has requested people to refrain from using this controversial term…”

Hence Eun-hee’s justified reaction:

Eun-hee: Honey bottom?

Man: These days it’s popular. It means honey applied to a bottom…

Eun-hee: I’m going to the Human Resources Department to complain about your sexual harassment!

Man: Honestly, it was just a compliment, why…

Man: Well, I was just complimenting her on how well her clothes fit. Why’s she acting like that?

Dal-ma: It doesn’t matter what your intention is, it depends on how the other person receives it. If they feel uncomfortable, then it’s sexual harassment.

Man: In that case, if someone has a good body, how can we give them a compliment?

Dal-ma: If you intend to compliment a certain part of a person’s body, then do it precisely. Then, the other person will take it well.

Man: I don’t really understand.

Dal-ma: Watch me do it.

Dal-ma: Sung-mi, your pectoral muscles are amazing. And your Sternocostal joints and Sternocleidomastoid muscle are beautiful!

Sung-mi: Er…thank you.

Dal-ma: You see?

No, I didn’t find them funny either. What’s more, they give the impression that all it takes to deal with sexual harassment in Korean workplaces is a quick visit to the Human Resources Department, and consequently that male employees are very nervous about being accused of it. Unfortunately though, as this case at Samsung and these recent testimonies by victims demonstrate, the reality is anything but.

Why the discrepancy? That’s a good question, and it’s made me curious to see if its also found in other newspapers, and so on. Which is not bad for a couple of quick cartoons over a morning coffee, yes?^^

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace & the 2001 Equal Employment Opportunity Law: What Still Needs to be Done


With thanks very much to Marilyn for the translation of the following article from Ildaro (일다), I’ll quickly let it speak for itself:

고용불안 속, 직장내 성희롱 위협 커져

In the midst of employment instability, the threat of workplace sexual harassment increases

고용평등상담실 10년, 여성노동의 현실과 미래를 말한다(2)

10th year of the Equal Employment Counseling Office, discussing female employees’ present and future

[편집자 주] 2001년 남녀고용평등법 4차 개정으로 고용평등상담실 지원제도가 도입된 지 10년이 되었습니다. 민간단체들의 고용평등상담실은 그동안 여성노동자들의 실질적 보호장치로 기능해왔으며, 여성노동자들이 처한 현실을 사회에 고발하는 창구역할을 해왔습니다. 일다는 여성노동자회와 함께 고용평등상담실에 접수된 상담사례를 통해 IMF 경제 위기 이후 후퇴 일로를 걷고 있는 여성노동의 현실과 과제를 살펴보고자 합니다. 필자 황현숙님은 현재 서울여성노동자회 회장을 맡고 있습니다.

우 리 사회의 성폭력 문제는 온 국민이 알게 된 끔찍한 아동 성폭행, 유명 정치인의 성희롱 등으로 자주 언론에 오르내리는 이슈가 되었다. 직장내 성희롱으로 고용평등상담실의 문을 두드리는 여성들의 호소 또한 가벼운 성적 농담이나 접촉을 넘어서 심지어는 강간에 이르는 경우조차 발생되고 있다. 직장내 성희롱은 그 자체가 미치는 정신적․신체적 악영향, 노동환경의 악화뿐만 아니라 일자리 자체까지 위협받게 된다는 데에 그 심각성이 있다.

[Editor’s note] It’s been 10 years since the Equal Employment Counseling Office support system was introduced through the 4th Amendment to the 2001 Equal Employment Opportunity Law.  During that time, the Equal Employment Counseling Offices of private organizations have been functioning as female workers’ practical safeguards and have acted as liaisons that report to society the realities that female workers encounter. Through the case consultations received in the Equal Employment Counseling Office, Ilda and the Women Workers Association intend to look at the realities and problems of women workers, who are losing ground after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.   Author Hwang Hyun-sook  is the current head of the Seoul Women Workers Association.

Through incidents of horrible child molestation, a famous politician’s sexual harassment, and others of which the entire nation is aware, our society’s problem with sexual violence has become an issue that often comes up in the press.  According to the complaints of women workers who’ve knocked on the Equal Employment Counseling Office’s door because of sexual harassment, there are also cases occurring that surpass light sexual jokes or touching to go as far as rape.  Workplace sexual harassment itself not only has bad mental and physical effects and worsens work environments, but is even of such a magnitude that jobs themselves [of victims] may be threatened.


일자리 위협으로 이어지는 직장내 성희롱

“과장이 ‘피곤하지?’라며 손, 팔을 주물러 너무 불쾌하여 늘 가슴을 조이며 지냈어요. 어느 날 허벅지를 만지기도 하여 우울증에 시달리다가 문제제기를 하였더니 그 후 재계약을 하지 않겠다는 통보를 받았어요. 성희롱으로 실직하게 된 것 같아 너무 억울해요.”(2009년 상담사례, 계약직)

“사 장님이 자꾸 만나자고 하면서 ‘옆에 오면 가슴이 떨린다. 만나면 안고 싶고 무릎을 베고 누워 얘기도 하고 싶고 즐기고 싶다. 나를 받아 줄 수 없냐.”고 하더라고요. 남자에 대해 관심이 없다고 거절했더니, 부장을 통해 퇴사하라는 통보를 받았는데……“(2009년 상담사례, 2개월 근무)

성희롱 가해자가 사업주, 상사 인 상담은 매년 75~85% 가량이다. 가해자가 인사권을 직접 가지고 있는 경우가 많아 성희롱을 거부하거나 문제제기했을 경우에는 직. 간접적인 괴롭힘으로 스스로 그만두게 하거나 권고사직, 심지어 다른 사유를 들어 해고하는 사례들도 나타난다. 그래서 성희롱이 발생해도 공론화하기 어렵고 이를 은폐하도록 가해자가 권력을 행사하기도 한다.

Workplace sexual harassment extending to job threats

“My manager would ask, ‘Are you tired?’ and massage my hands and feet; it was so uncomfortable and I always went around feeling anxious.  One day he even touched my thigh and so while suffering from depression, I made a complaint; because of that I received notice that my contract wouldn’t be renewed.  I became unemployed because of sexual harassment – it’s so unfair.” (2009 counseling case, contract worker)

“The president of the company often asked me out and said ‘When you come near me my heart pounds.  If we go out I want to hold you, put my head in your lap and talk, and have fun.  Can’t you accept me?’  I refused, telling him I wasn’t interested in men, and through the general manager I received notice that I was to resign…” (2009 case consultation, working for 2 months)

Every year, about 75-85% of the consultations are ones in which the perpetrator of sexual harassment is the business’ owner or victim’s boss.  There are many cases in which the perpetrator is directly in charge of the company’s human resources.  Because of this, when the victim has rejected the perpetrator’s advances or made an official complaint, there have been cases in which the perpetrator may cause her to quit though direct or indirect harassment, urge her to resign, or even find grounds to fire her.  Therefore, even though sexual harassment occurs, making it public is difficult and the perpetrator often exerts his authority to conceal it.

(Source: unknown)

성희롱의 온상, 회식자리 남성중심 문화

“입 사한지 1주일 만에 본사 간부급 직원들과 회식자리가 있었어요. 간부들이 버릇인양 손잡기, 어깨동무하기, 허리 감싸기, 끌어안기, 볼 부비기……. 마치 간부들을 위해 여직원들이 대접하는 자리 같았는데 어렵게 입사하여 그만둘 수도 없고 어찌해야 할지……” (2007년 상담사례, 정규직)

“회 식 2차로 노래방에 끌려가다시피 갔어요. 술 마신 남직원들이 안으려고 해서 피했는데, 갑자기 뒤에서 끌어안더니 들었다놓았다하는데 과장, 계장 모두 묵인하고, 계장은 블루스를 추자고 하더라고요. 그래서 울면서 집에 왔는데 동기들도 다른 구청이나 동사무소 근무하면서 회식자리 성희롱 때문에 너무 힘들어 해요. 블루스를 춘 여직원한테는 잘해주고, 안 추면 욕하고 못살게 군다고 하더라고요.” (2007년 상담사례, 공무원)

회 식문화가 변하는 곳도 생겨나고 있지만, 회식자리에서의 성희롱은 지금도 일상적으로 일어나고 있다. 회식자리는 직장내 위계적 관계의 연속으로 상사의 기호에 맞추어야 하고 그의 요구에 따라야 하는 업무의 연속처럼 진행된다. 우리 사회의 남성 중심적인 문화, 위계질서가 이어지는 회식 문화는 여성들의 고용환경을 악화시키는데 일조하고 있다.

The hotbed of sexual harassment, office dinner male-centric culture

“I was at an office dinner with head office management-level employees only a week after joining the company.  The executives had habits of holding my hand, putting their arms around my shoulders and waist, hugging me, pressing their cheeks against mine…   It was like a place for the female employees to serve executives; it was hard to get a job here so I can’t quit and [don’t know] what to do…”  (2007 case consultation, regular employee)

“I went to the second [drinking-heavy] part of our office dinner like I was being dragged.  Male employees who were drinking were trying to hug me so I avoided them; suddenly I was embraced from behind and picked up and put down.  The manager and section chief overlooked everything, and the section chief asked me to slow-dance with him.  So I came home crying; also my peers who work at other district offices or dong offices have a really hard time because of sexual harassment at office dinners.  They say the female employees who slow-danced are treated well, and if you don’t dance they curse and treat you badly.” (2007 case consultation, government employee)

There are places where office dinner culture is changing, but sexual harassment at office dinners happens regularly even now. Office dinners progress similar to the  business itself, in which one must adjust to the preferences of a superior ahead of one in the workplace’s hierarchical relationships, and follow his demands.  Our society’s male-centric culture and hierarchy-connected office dinner culture lead to the worsening of women’s working conditions.


친밀한 관계가 질곡인 영세소규모사업장 성희롱

“5 명도 안 되는 회사에서 근무한지 2개월인데 사장이 아침부터 술을 먹자고 하고, 남자친구랑 몇 번 하냐고 묻고 ‘나랑 애인 같은 거 하자’는 소리를 자꾸 해요. ‘이런 소리 들으려고 일하는 거 아니다’라고 말하면 무릎 꿇고 안한다고 하면서도 술만 마시면 또 그러니 일자리가 아니라 고문받는 자리 같아요.”(2008년 상담사례)

“연 말에 사장이 송년회를 가자고 해서 부담스러웠지만 가게 되었어요. 결국 2차까지 가게 되었는데 노래방에서 강제로 키스를 하고 옷 속으로 손을 넣어 몸을 만졌어요. 거부하면서 강하게 밀쳤더니 “난 사장이고, 넌 경리야”, “너 내일부터 나오지 마.”라는데, 다시 직장을 알아보면서 화도 나고 얼굴 보는 것도 두렵고 생각할수록 화가 나고 억울해요.“(2008년 상담사례, 사업주와 2명 근무)

영세소규모사업장의 성희롱은 가해자가 사업주인 경우가 많아 실질적인 법적 조치가 어려운 점, 성희롱 예방교육 특례조항 적용 사업장이라 예방교육이 실시되지 않는다는 문제점이 있다.

업 무적으로 둘만이 접촉하는 경우가 많아 사업주의 부당한 성적 요구나 사적인 친밀감을 성적 언행으로 표시하는 경우도 잦다. 성희롱을 거부하면 바로 그만두라는 통보를 받는 노동권 위협의 문제도 크지만, 매일 가까운 곳에서 얼굴을 마주쳐야 하니 버티고 싶어도 버티기 어렵다는 어려움이 있다.

Sexual harassment in a small business bound by close relationships

“I’ve been working for 2 months at an office that doesn’t even have 5 people in it; from the morning on the president suggests drinking together, asks me how many times I do it with my boyfriend, and keeps saying ‘Let’s date or something’. When I say, ‘I don’t work in order to listen to this kind of noise’, even though he gets on his knees and says he won’t do it [anymore], when he drinks, he gets like that again, so it’s like a torture chamber, not a workplace.” (2008 case consultation)

“At the end of the year, the president wanted to have an end-of-the-year party, so I went though it was annoying.  I ended up going to the second part and at a karaoke room he forcibly kissed me and put his hands under my clothes and touched me.  I refused him and pushed him hard so he said ‘I’m the president and you’re the bookkeeper’ and ‘From tomorrow, don’t come in [to work] anymore.’  I’m looking for another job and I feel angry and afraid of seeing his face, and the more I think about it, the angrier I get and the more unfair it feels.”  (2008 case consultation, office with company president and two people)

There are many cases in which the perpetrator of sexual harassment in a small business workplace is the business owner, so real legal measures are a challenge, and they are workplaces to which the Sexual Harassment Prevention Education Exception Clause applies, so there is the problem of prevention education not being implemented.

There are many cases in business in which two people only have contact with each other, so cases in which the business’ owner expresses his unjustified sexual demands or personal feelings of intimacy through sexual speech and behavior also frequently occur.  If victims rebuff the sexual harassment, the labor rights-threatening problem of immediately receiving notice to quit is serious, but there is also the drawback that because they have to see the other person’s face nearby every day, even though they want to endure it [keep working], enduring it is difficult.


늘어나는 서비스직, 늘어나는 고객에 의한 성희롱

“고객센터에서 근무하고 있는데 외주업체 소속 강사가 메신저로 ‘만나자, 남자친구와 몇 번 했냐는 등의 말과 스킨십을 하는데 법적으로 어떻게 처리할 수 있을까요?” (2009년 상담사례, 텔레마케터)

“노 인돌보미 일을 하고 있는데, 고객이 70세인데 전직 교장이래요. 첫날부터 자꾸 몸을 밀착해오고 ‘젊은 사람이 곁에 있으니 내가 다시 남성이 되는 느낌이다’, 어제는 노골적으로 ‘아랫도리가 되살아난다’며 치근대 괴로워요. 어떻게 해야 할지…….“(2009년 상담사례, 45세)

고 용형태와 업무 방식이 다양해지면서 업무상 맺는 관계의 폭도 다양하고 복잡해졌다. 협력업체나 거래처 직원, 대인서비스직의 성희롱도 다양하게 나타난다. 그리고 간병이나 노인돌봄 같은 사회서비스 일자리가 늘어남에 따라 재가 돌봄서비스에 종사하는 여성들의 성희롱 피해상담도 늘어나고 있다.

Increasing service-industry workers, increasing sexual harassment by customers

“I work in a customer service center.  A supervisor [actually she uses the word for “lecturer” but I think that’s a mistake] affiliated with our subcontractor says things on Messenger like ‘Let’s go out’, ‘How many times have you done it with a boyfriend?’ and so on, and does skinship [touching like they’re in a relationship].  How can I deal with this using the law?” (2009 case consultation, telemarketer)

“I work in elder care.  My patient is 70 years old and says he used to be a school principal. From the first day he has often pressed up against me and said ‘Because there’s a young person at my side I feel like I’m becoming a man again’ and yesterday, saying bluntly, ‘My lower body is coming back to life”, he made pass at me; I’m really upset.  [I don’t know] what to do…” (2009 case consultation, 45-year-old)

As types of employment and ways of conducting business are diversifying, the range of relationships formed through business is also diversifying and becoming complicated. Sexual harassment of employees of subcontractors or clients, and personal service workers also presents itself in various ways.  Also, in line with the increase in social service positions like nursing or elder care, sexual harassment victim counseling for women working in in-home care is also increasing.


성희롱은 사적인 일?

“남자 동료가 수시로 농담을 하면서 뽀뽀하자, 너도 밤일 할 줄 아냐는 등 수치심을 갖도록 하여 회사에 제기하였는데, 개인의 일이라고 개인적으로 대응하라고만 하는데……”(2009년 상담사례)

직 장내 성희롱은 안전한 환경에서 일할 노동권과 직접 관련이 있다. 그래서 남녀고용평등법에서도 직장내 성희롱을 금지하고 있을 뿐만 아니라, 사업주의 의무로 △직장 내 성희롱의 예방을 위한 교육 실시△성희롱 행위자에 대하여 징계나 이에 준하는 조치를 취할 것△피해자에게 해고나 다른 불이익 조치를 하지 말 것을 규정하고 있다. 그런데도 성희롱이 발생하여 이를 사측에 문제제기하면 위의 상담사례처럼 개인적인 일로 치부해 버리는 문제들이 여전히 일어나고 있다.

Sexual harassment is personal business?

“A male coworker often makes jokes and says, ‘Let’s kiss’, ‘Do you too know how to do night work [sex]?’ and other things to humiliate me so I made a complaint to the company.  They said it was personal business and just told me to deal with it privately…” (2009 case consultation)

Workplace sexual harassment is directly related to the employee’s right to work in a safe environment.  Therefore, the Equal Employment Opportunity Law not only prohibits workplace sexual harassment, it also stipulates, as the business owner’s duty, 1) implementation of education for the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace, 2) disciplinary action, or taking steps in accordance with disciplinary action, against the perpetrators of sexual harassment, 3) not firing or taking other disadvantageous action against victims.  However, when sexual harassment occurs and is reported to the management, problems with it just being regarded as personal business, as in the case consultation above, are still coming up.


고용평등상담실 통해 가해자의 공식사과와 징계 등 확보하기도

“부 원장님이 간호사들에게 안마를 해달라고 하거나 성적인 얘기도 잦아 힘들었어요. 며칠 전에는 맨발로 제 다리를 쓰다듬었는데 징그럽고 수치스러운 느낌 때문에 정신과 상담까지 받았어요. 그런데 고용평등상담실에서 도와주셔서 부원장은 공개사과와 감봉처분에, 병원 전체에 성희롱예방교육까지 실시하게 되었답니다!”

“과장님 성희롱 때문에 괴로웠는데 상담실에서 도와주셔서 공개사과도 받고 가해자는 다른 근무지로 전출되어 얼굴보지 않고 근무할 수 있게 되었어요!”

직 장내 성희롱 자체가 노동환경을 악화시키고, 이를 문제제기하면 해고나 불이익이 따르기도 한다. 그러나 다른 여직원들을 위해서라도 그냥 있을 수 없다며 이에 맞서 문제를 제기하는 여성들 또한 늘어나고 있다. 이렇듯 권리를 확보하게 되는 사례도 많았지만, 일자리 자체의 불안정이 갈수록 커지면서 적극적인 대응을 주저하는 경우도 많은 안타까움이 있다.

Securing perpetrators’ public apology, disciplinary action, etc., through the Equal Employment Counseling Office

“The vice director frequently asked the nurses to give him massages or talked about sex, so it was difficult.  A few days ago he stroked my leg with his left foot; because of the nasty and shameful feeling, I even got psychiatric counseling.   But the Equal Employment Counseling Office helped me so the vice director’s public apology and pay docking measure, and even sexual harassment prevention education for the whole hospital were implemented!”

“I suffered because of my manager’s sexual harassment, but the Equal Employment Counseling Office helped me so I received a public apology and the perpetrator was transferred to a different workplace so I don’t see his face and I’ve become able to work!”

Workplace sexual harassment itself has a negative effect on a work environment, and if one reports it, dismissal or disadvantages often follow.  However, the number of women saying that, for the sake of other women workers, they can’t just [let it] be and accordingly, making complaints, is rising.  In this way there have been many cases that secured rights, but regrettably, as the instability of jobs themselves increases, there are many cases in which [victims] hesitate to take assertive action.


직장내 성희롱 문화? 이젠 바뀌어야

직장내 성희롱을 겪으면 그만두라고 할까봐 참고 견디거나, 문제제기하면 결국 피해자가 그만두게 되는 상황이 더 이상 반복되지 않도록 해야 한다. 지난 해 여성노동자회 고용평등상담실에 접수된 성희롱 발생 사업장의 78%가 성희롱예방교육을 실시하지 않은 것으로 파악되었다. 그러므로 사업장에서는 형식적이지 않은 예방교육 실시해야 하고 사내에서 발생하는 성희롱에 대하여 조사와 조치, 재발방지 대책 등을 마련하여 실시해야 한다.

그 리고 정부는 이런 사항들이 실질적으로 이루어지도록 적극적인 행정지도·감독을 해야 한다. 또한 남성 중심적이 아닌 성인지적 관점의 성희롱 인정, 영세사업장장의 성희롱 예방교육 지원 확대, 돌봄서비스노동의 성희롱 실태조사와 예방교육 및 대책 등을 마련해야 한다. 이를 통해 우리 사회와 직장 전반의 남성 중심적인 문화가 변화될 때 직장내 성희롱에 대한 인식과 대책의 변화 또한 이끌어낼 수 있을 것이다.

Workplace sexual harassment culture?  Needs to change now

We need to make it so that situations in which, if one experiences workplace sexual harassment, they hold back and endure it because they’re afraid of being told to quit, or in which if they report it, they end up quitting, are no longer repeated. Last year, 78% of the workplaces reported to the Women Worker’s Association’s Equal Employment Counseling Center for sexual harassment were places where sexual harassment prevention education had not been implemented.  Therefore, in the workplace, prevention education that is not cursory needs to be implemented, and for sexual harassment that occurs in-house, research, action, recurrence prevention measures, etc., need to be arranged and implemented.

The government needs to use assertive administrative guidance and supervision to make these remedies become reality.  Also, recognition of sexual harassment from a gender-sensitive perspective that is not male-centric, securing support for sexual harassment prevention education for the owners of small businesses, research, prevention education, and measures regarding the sexual harassment of care-industry workers, etc., have to be arranged. When, through these, both our society’s and all workplaces’ male-centric culture changes, they will also be able to lead to changes in the understanding of and countermeasures for workplace sexual harassment.


Fighting Sexual Harassment at Samsung: Part 3

( Source )

This post, about Lee Eun-eui’s successful suit against Samsung Electronics for sexual harassment by her boss and then being punished for reporting it, follows directly from Part 1 and Part 2. If you haven’t already, please read those before continuing:

소송과정에서 가장 힘들었던 점은?

What has been the most difficult thing in the whole legal process for you?

회사에서는 내가 거짓말 한다고 했다. 인권위에서나 법원에서 회사의 주 변론이 ‘원하는 부서에 배치 받으려고 있지도 않은 성희롱을 했다고 주장한다’라는 거였다. 그럴 때마다 수치스러웠다. 주로 남자들이 있는 자리에서 내가 당했던 일을 말하는 게 쉬운 일도 아니었고.

처음 성희롱이 몸의 수치였다면, 사내에서 가해진 왕따는 영혼의 수치였고, 그 이후 회사의 반응들은 영혼과 몸을 다 부정당한 기분이었다. 내가 나의 성을 팔아야 할 만큼 부서배치나 승진이 대단한가? 매번 그런 사실을 법원에서 인권위에서 해명할 때마다 느꼈던 좌절감이 오늘의 나를 만들어 준 것 같다. 분노로 담금질 됐다. 회사는 나를 괴물같이 보겠지. 퇴사하지도 않고 심지어 (소송에서) 이기기까지 했으니. 그렇지만 나는 이런 ‘괴물’을 만든 건 회사라고 본다. 나는 원래 그런 존재가 아니었는데, 나를 자꾸 흔들어서 내가 살기 위해 움직이다 보니까 이 자리까지 온 거다.

잠시 숨을 고르던 이씨는 신입사원 시절, 연수원에서 배웠던 ‘도덕성ㆍ에티켓ㆍ인간미’를 이야기 했다. 그는 “유치하고 뻔 한 말이지만, 그 세 가지가 지켜졌다면 없었을 일이 황유미ㆍ박지연(삼성전자에서 일하던 중 백혈병으로 사망)씨였고 나였다”라고 말했다.

Samsung Electronics saying that I was lying. Their response to the Human Rights Commission and the Court was that I was simply accusing my boss of sexual harassment in order to get the position I wanted within the department. I felt really ashamed and humiliated whenever I heard that. And it was especially difficult to talk about it when there were men around (source, right).

At first, the sexual harassment made me feel ashamed and humiliated bodily, but then when I was ostracized within the company my spirit felt that way too, and because of the company’s reaction I felt such a sense of injustice and frustration both mentally and physically. Was being promoted within the company so important that I had to sell myself sexually? Whenever I had to explain the fact of what happened to the Human Rights Commission or in the Court, I felt such a sense of frustration and discouragement, and that’s made me what I’m like today. But my anger was sated, and the company will look at me as a monster from now on. However, I wasn’t originally like that, it’s what the company made me; because they kept pressing so hard, I had to hold my ground just to survive and get on with my life.

Reporter Jang Il-ho: Catching her breath, Lee talks about back when she was a new employee, and how at the training center she learned about ethics, etiquette, and humanity through stories. “They were childish, and I always knew what the endings were going to be, but if the company itself had just borne them in mind then cases like Hwang Yu-mi’s, Park Ji-yeon’s (who both allegedly died of Leukemia from working at Samsung Electronics assembly lines), and mine would never have happened” she said.

회사를 그만 두지 않은 이유는?

What is the reason you haven’t quit working for Samsung Electronics?

(그만둘까)많이 생각했다. 편하게 갈 수 있는 길도 있었고 후회와 고민도 있었다. 그렇지만 나는 회사가 이건희 회장이나 사장의 것이라고 생각하지 않는다. 직원과 주주 것이라고 생각한다. 내가 들어오고 싶었던 회사, 자랑스럽게 생각했던 회사, 꿈에 그리던 회사…열심히 다녔고… 결국 내 꿈에 대해 실망했었다.

그렇지만 이 회사는 나의 빛나던 20대와 뜨거웠던 30대가 녹아 있는 곳이다. 불이익을 당했을 때, 회사를 바르게 사랑하는 방식은 바로잡기 위한 노력을 하는 거라고 생각했고, 그걸 실천에 옮겼을 뿐이다. 사실 나는 황유미씨나 박지연씨만큼 중요한 사람은 아니다. 그런 의미에서 부채감도 있다. 그들은 생명권의 문제, 타협이 불가능한 문제다. 그러나 애초에 나는 타협도 조율도 가능했다. 그런데 그걸 해주는 사람이 회사 내에 아무도 없었기 때문에 싸워야 했다.

Quitting…I thought about it a lot. It would have been very easy, and in some ways I regret not doing so. But then I don’t think this company belongs to its chairman Lee Kun-hee, or the bosses of its many subsidiaries, but rather to its employees and stockholders. It’s a company I also wanted to work in, I was proud to work in, it was my dream to work in…I worked hard here…although in the end, my dream was crushed (source, left).

However, my shining (with potential) 20s and energetic, passionate 30s just melted into this company. I thought that whenever something was wrong, the way to show your love to the company was to do what was right to fix it, and indeed in reality that’s all I did. I’m not as important as Hwang Yu-mi or Park Ji-yeon, who had problems with their very lives, which were impossible to negotiate with. With me though, it was possible to do something about my problem from the outset, although because no-one within the company would help me I had no choice but to fight.

삼성은 노조가 없어도 노사협의회로 노동자의 권리를 보호해준다고 하는데, 도움이 됐나.

Samsung doesn’t have a union, but it does have a labor-management arbitration committee to help protect workers’ rights. Did they help?

단적으로 노조가 있었다면 소송할 때 변호사비도 들지 않았을 거고, 회사 내에서도 중재가 가능했을 것이다. 노사협의회에 도움을 요청했더니, 회사와 개인의 문제에 끼어들 수 없다고 하더라. 이 문제에서 노사 협의회는 전혀 도움이 안 됐다. 오죽하면 노사협의회에 근로자위원으로 입후보하려고 했는데, 우연의 일치인지 입후보 기간에 맞춰 출장을 보냈다. 이번 민사 판결이 의미 있는 이유 중 하나는 노조가 없는 회사에서 그동안 ‘회사와 싸우면 깨진다’라는 본보기를 깨트린 점이다.

Putting it simply, if there had been a union then they would have provided money for a lawyer and/or mediated with the company for me. In contrast, the labor-management arbitration committee told me that if was a personal issue between myself and the company and so they couldn’t get involved: they weren’t any help whatsoever. Indeed, I applied for a position on that committee, but by a [supposed] coincidence I was sent away on a business trip and was unable to. The judgment of the lawsuit means [though], that unlike what everyone thinks, you can win if you fight against a company which has no union.

(James – I’m a little confused by her application: she was immediately moved from her department after reporting being sexual harassed by her boss, she was then completely ostracized at work – indeed, later put on extended leave for 7 months – , but somehow still expected to get on to a committee that had already refused to help her? My wife suggests she may have been so desperate though, that she literally tried anything)

가족들의 반응은 어떤가.

What was the reaction of your family?

물정 모르고 자란 막내딸이 이런 소송에 휘말릴 것이라고 생각지도 않으셨다. 아직도 어머니가 매일 아침 머리를 말려 출근 시켜주신다. 그런 어머니에게 차마 말을 할 수 없었다. 알고 나서 무척 싫어하셨지. 그렇지만 나중에는 제대로 싸우라고 응원해줬다. 이왕 얼굴 내놓고 싸울 거면 예쁜 모습으로 싸워야 한다고, 옷 같은 것도 참견하시고(웃음). 종내 항상 힘을 보태주고 지지해주는 건 가족인 것 같다.

4시간 가까이 쉼 없이 말을 쏟아놓던 이은의씨에게 카메라를 들이댔다. 이씨는 “이왕이면 예쁘게 찍어 달라”라고 요구했다. 그는 “여자로서의 욕망이 아니라 ‘파이터’로서의 옵션이다”라고 덧붙였다. 불쌍하게 보이고 싶지 않다고 했다. 질 수 없었던 싸움, 희망의 언표가 되고 싶다는 이유였다. ‘언니를 지지할 수는 있지만, 언니처럼 될 수 없어서…’라며 성희롱 피해를 당하고도 싸우지 못하는 많은 여직원들을 보며 그는 ‘파이터’의 감수성을 키워왔다.

앞으로의 계획을 물었다. “지난 5년은 힘들면 맥주 한 잔 하고 풀 수 있는 평범한 일상이 사라진 시간들이었어요. 이제 그 시간들을 회복해가야죠”

My parents never imagined that their youngest child, who knows so little about life, could ever get involved in such an unsavory thing. But still, my mother dries my hair everyday as I prepare to go to work. At first, I couldn’t tell her anything about it. And once I did, she really really hated it. However, later she said that if I was going to fight then I had to do it properly, and that she would support me. And that because my face was already out there, I had to do it prettily, so (laughing) she was always telling me what to wear! And in the end, whenever my strength and resolve were lagging, my family always made up for it (source, above).

Reporter Jang Il-ho: After talking without a break for 4 hours, I started taking pictures of Lee. She said “please try to make me look nice I guess”, but added that she “didn’t want people to think of her as a desirable woman, but rather as a fighter”. And she doesn’t want people to take pity on her, but instead think of her as someone who couldn’t lose, who is a symbol of hope, as she heard from so many women who’d also suffered sexual harassment that they could help her, but they couldn’t be like her, so she developed a real sense of herself as a fighter.

I asked about her plans for the future.  She said that “For the last 5 years, I’ve had no opportunities for a normal life, even just having a simple glass of beer. Now, I have to recover, and make up for lost time”. (end)

( Source )

Personally, I was a little disappointed with that conclusion to the interview: there were many further questions raised about the incidents of sexual harassment, the reaction of the company, and the lawsuit and so on in Part 1 and Part 2 (and indeed even here too), but unfortunately we were given a rather repetitive look at the emotional side of the case rather than any real answers to those. Not that her own feelings are trivial or uninteresting of course, but I am left feeling a little frustrated.

Anyone else feel the same way? There are a few more Korean-language sources available, so if you have any further questions yourself about the case, then I’ll endeavor to find the answers myself if they’re available, albeit only translating the relevant sections of the articles this time!^^


Fighting Sexual Harassment at Samsung: Part 2

(“What? Sexual Harassment at Samsung Electronics?? Heaven Forbid!”. Source.)

This post, about Lee Eun-eui’s successful suit against Samsung Electronics for sexual harassment by her boss and then being punished for reporting it, follows directly from Part 1. If you haven’t already, please read that before continuing:

블로그에 “1 레이싱이 얼추 막이 내렸다라고 썼더라. 1 레이싱을 뛰고 소감이 어떤가.

On your blog, you wrote that”The First Round is almost over”. How do feel about that?

아직 실감이 잘 안 난다. 꿈꾸는 것 같다. 회사가 항소를 할 건지 안 할 건지에 따라 바뀌겠지만, 지금은 해묵은 숙제를 끝내고 조금 쉴 수 있는 시간이다(삼성은 “내부적으로 법률적인 판단을 거친 뒤 항소 여부를 결정할 것이다”라고 밝혔다). 판결 뒤 며칠 편하게 잠을 잤다. 사건을 겪으면서 죽고 싶다는 생각도 많이 했다. 내가 일하는 건물(수원 삼성전기 본사)에서 죽을까, 삼성 본관이 있는 강남이나 태평로로 갈까…생각하면서. 그런데서 죽었으면 신문에 한 줄이라도 날까? 결국 살아서 싸우니까 좋은 결과를 본다고 판단했다. 삼성 사건 치고는 기사도 많이 나왔다(웃음).

It doesn’t feel like it’s real yet. It’s like a dream. Of course, Samsung may yet decide to file an appeal, but for now at least I am finally able to finish all my work related to the case and take a rest (Samsung stated that it will “decide whether or not to file an appeal after discussing the legal judgment within the company”), and I’ve slept soundly in the few days since the judgment was handed down. While the case was going on, I often thought of killing myself, but wondered whether to do it at my workplace (Suwon Samsung Electronics branch), at Samsung’s headquarters in Gangnam, or on Taepyeong Road [in front of Seoul City Hall – James]…but if I did, would it even get one line in a newspaper? So, I decided to carry on and fight, and in the end I was able to see a good result. And now (laughing) there are many articles about Samsung electronics in the news!

5억을 제기했었는데, 판결은 4천만 원을 배상하라고 나왔다.

You sued Samsung for 500 million won (US$422, 305), but were only awarded 40 (US$33,784)…?

따 지자면 5억을 받아도 성에 차지 않지만, 금액이 중요한 게 아니라 내용이 중요하다. 판사도 용기 있는 결단을 했다고 생각한다. 판결문 보고 엉엉 울었다. 판사에게 너무 고마웠다. 억울했던 것들에 대해서 인정을 받았으니까. 판사는 수많은 재판 중에 한 건이겠지만, 이건 굉장히 많은 여성 직장인들에게 큰 영향을 미칠 거라고 생각한다. ‘네가 이겨줘서 고맙다’ ‘뜨거운 마음으로 박수를 보낸다’ 등 연락도 많이 받았다. 회사에서 어려움을 겪는 분들, 특히 여직원들이 상담을 해오기도 한다. 아주 많은 숫자는 아니지만, 중요하다고 생각한다. 4천만 원을 배상하라는 것과는 비교할 수 없는 일이다. 회사가 항소하지 않으면 나도 안 할 생각이다. 이 판결을 그대로 유지하고 싶다.

이은의씨는 “미안한다는 말이 그렇게 어려웠을까”라고 기자에게 되물었다. 그녀는 가해자나 회사가 ‘미안하다’라며 사과를 했다면 소송까지도 가지 않았을 것이라고 했다.

Even if I’d received the full 500 million won, that wouldn’t have been enough to satisfy my anger, but then the amount isn’t the important thing anyway. I thought that the judge was very brave with his final decision, and I wept as it was read out, I was so thankful to him for showing everyone that what I’d said was true. And while to him this was surely just one case out of many, I think it will have a huge effect on women workers. I have received many messages like “Thank you for your victory” and “I applaud you with a warm heart” and so on, and have also been asked for advice from other women experiencing similar problems at their own companies. While their numbers aren’t great, I think that it is very important, and 40 million won can’t compare to that. And if Samsung doesn’t appeal, then I won’t either: I want this judgment to stick. (Source, above)

“Was it really so difficult for them to say sorry”? Lee Eun-eui asked. And she adds that if the offender or the company had simply apologized, then she probably wouldn’t have gone so far as to file a lawsuit against them.

2005 5 이후, 판결이 나기까지 5년이 걸렸다. 싸움이 쉽지 않았을 같다.

It has been 5 years since the first incident in May 2005 to the final judgment. It can’t have been easy.

사내에서 받아들여지지 않아 2007년 인권위에 진정했다. 인권위가 삼성전기에 재발방지 대책 수립 권고를 내렸지만, 회사는 권고를 취하해 달라며 행정소송을 제기했다. 그리고 2008년 내가 제기한 민사소송(손해배상)까지 내면서 ‘전문가’가 됐다. ‘삼성’이라고 하면 어느 곳도 싸워주겠다고 제대로 덤비는 곳이 없었다. 어렵게 도와주시는 변호사를 만났지만, 그런 과정을 거치다 보니 시간이 길어졌다.

회사가 ‘미안하다’라고만 했어도 일이 이렇게까지 안 됐을 거다. 사과는 커녕 ‘외부에 이런 사실을 알리면 민형사상 소송을 진행하겠다’라는 회사의 메일을 받을 때마다 처음엔 무서웠다. 인권위에 진정하기 전까지 2년 동안 병이 났다. 아버지가 갑자기 돌아가시고, 부서에서는 내쳐지고…배신감과 누적된 정신적 피로감이 폭발해서 실어증이 왔다. 당시에는 말만 시작하면 계속 울었다. 회사가 ‘성희롱 없었다’ ‘대기발령도 사실이 아니다’ ‘왕따도 없었다’라며 전면적으로 부정하는 데 정말 할 말을 잃었다. 결국 인권위에서 권고가 나왔고, 회사가 인권위에 제기한 행정소송에서도 인권위의 손을 들어줬다. 이번 민사소송도 승소했고. 주위에서는 ‘기적’이라고 한다.

As nothing was done within the company about my accusations, in 2007 I informed the Human Rights Commission, and they made an official recommendation to Samsung that the company needed to institute measures to prevent such sexual harassment from occurring again. Rather than following that recommendation however, Samsung sued the Human Rights Commission to have that recommendation withdrawn! Then in 2008 I filed my own civil suit against Samsung for personal damages, and in the process became quite the legal expert, as there were no lawyers prepared to take up my case and defy Samsung. In the end I did find a lawyer to help though, but that was just the start of a long and arduous legal process. (Source, above)

If only Samsung had said sorry, things would never have gone this far. But rather than apologize, instead they sent me emails saying they would sue me if I informed anyone outside the company of it, which was very scary at first. And in the 2 years before I informed the Human Rights Commission, I got very sick. My father suddenly passed away, I was completely cut out of the department I’d worked in…I felt such a sense of betrayal, and the mental stress and fatigue just kept accumulating and accumulating to the extent that I even developed aphasia. Whenever I started speaking, I would just keep crying. But the company completely lied and said that there was no sexual harassment, that I was not placed on extended leave, and that I was not ostracized at work, which just left me speechless anyway! In the end, once the Human Right Commission’s recommendation came, the company sued them but lost, and this time I won too. People around me say it’s a miracle.


And, daughters permitting, Part 3 of the interview will be up on Monday!