S. Korean man who assaulted short-haired woman for being ‘feminist’ gets 3 years in jail

S. Korean man who assaulted short-haired woman for being ‘feminist’ gets 3 years in jailS. Korean man who assaulted short-haired woman for being ‘feminist’ gets 3 years in jail
(representational only) via Larm Rmah on Unsplash
Michelle De Pacina
April 11, 2024
A man in South Korea who was arrested for assaulting a woman because he suspected her of being a “feminist” due to her short hair, has been sentenced to three years in jail.
Key points:
  • The unidentified man attacked the woman in her 20s when he spotted her working at a convenience store in South Gyeongsang Province in November last year. 
  • He was previously charged with causing injury and property damage. The victim and gender rights groups expressed disappointment, criticizing the court for not recognizing the attack as a hate crime against women
Catch up:
  • On Nov. 3, the man in his 20s entered the store in Jinju, where he punched and kicked the victim while expressing chauvinistic views and the belief that feminists should be beaten. “Since you have short hair, you must be a feminist. I’m a male chauvinist, and I think feminists deserve to be assaulted,” he told her, according to police, who noted that the man was in a drunken state during the incident. 
  • The woman sustained severe injuries to her ear and ligaments. Another convenience store customer in his 50s, who tried to intervene, was also attacked. He was hit with a chair and suffered fractures to bones in the shoulder, nose and forehead. 
The details:
  • The prosecution sought a five-year jail term, with the court citing the man’s unstable mental state at the time of the incident. 
  • He was ordered to pay 2.5 million won ($1,850) in compensation to the woman and 10 million won ($7,400) to the injured customer.
  • The traumatized customer, who will reportedly be designated as a “wounded noble person” by the law, will also receive state compensation and support from the local government. 
  • A coalition of women’s rights groups expressed anger over the lighter punishment and the court’s failure to recognize the incident as a hate crime. 
  • In a statement on Tuesday following the ruling, they said, “It is regrettable that the court did not see the incident as a hate crime. If an act of targeting someone out of hate, just because they belong to a specific group, is not considered a hate crime, then what is?”
Feminism in South Korea: 
  • South Korea faces issues of anti-feminism, and negative perceptions of women with short hair are not uncommon. The term “feminist” is often considered an insult, associated with man-hating. 
  • The nation struggles with gender equality as it continues to cling to traditional beauty standards for women, with long hair viewed as a symbol of conventional femininity. Some male-dominated online groups claim that feminism-focused policies are unfair to men, leading to anti-feminist sentiments.
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