Since the beginning of 2017, the #MeToo movement originated in the United States and encouraged over 17 million victims of sexual abuse to emerge from the shadows and speak out about their struggles. However, although the MeToo movement successfully encouraged many victimized women to confess the truth, the number of sexual assaults still remains high in the United States, with an American getting sexually harassed every 98 seconds, according to Forbes. While more people are gaining the courage to fight against sexual harassment and join #MeToo, many others women are still keeping quiet, refusing to risk any dangerous consequences of speaking out.
“I think there are still a lot of women who still refuse to talk about sexual abuse due to a lot of social stigmas,” said Minyoung Huh (10), executive member of SIS’ feminism club. “Yes, the MeToo movement provided and still provides space for women to talk about their experiences with sexual harassment. However, I believe that this movement is only the start to opening a conversation of sexual abuse because statistically, we have a long way to go with only around 15 percent of victimized women in the United States confessing their true experiences to the world.”
While the MeToo movement first began in the United States, the campaign recently started to gain more attention from Korean citizens. Specifically, following the list of Hollywood actors ¬¬–– Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and more ¬–– who have been charged with multiple sexual allegations, more celebrities in Korea were also accused of exploiting a number of women. Eminent Korean actors such as Lee Youn Taek, Jo Min Ki, Jo Jae Hyun and Oh Dal Su were revealed to have sexually abused many women, bringing great disappointment to their fans.
“To me, it was really shocking to find out that famous actors like Jo Min Ki and Oh Dal Su took advantage of women in inappropriate ways,” said Eric Hwang (10). “In fact, I still cannot believe that the actors I respected so much for their talent were the ones to be accused of sexual abuse. Discovering another disturbing side to these celebrities was not only upsetting but also really disappointing.”
In addition to being accused of sexually harassing several women, the culprits were found to have lied to the public by claiming their innocence. Some celebrities admitted to their faults and decided to give up their job in the entertainment industry due to the pressure they were receiving from the public; however, despite the solid evidence found, some still denied that they were guilty of sexually assaulting the several women who have spoken out with the MeToo movement. The disappointing and disgraceful behavior of these celebrities not only led them to face even more bitter condemnation from critics, but also led the entertainment industry to lose immense support.
“The initial impact of the #MeToo movement may not have been favorable since the entertainment industry began to face some harsh realities as several male celebrities were accused of sexual abuse,” said Jessica Terbruggen, advisor of the Gender Sexual Awareness (GSA) club. “However, I am still in support of the movement because in the long run, standing up for gender equality is a necessity for both women and men to feel comfortable in the workplace and society. Women all over the globe have long struggled for equality and against sexual harassment, and they deserve to stand strong with the #MeToo movement.”
After the further rise of the MeToo movement in Korea, the entertainment industry was hit hard by the loss of several talented actors who were blamed as the culprits of sexual misconduct. People began to not only throw harsh criticism at the entertainment industry, but also increase their suspicion toward other celebrities who have not yet been revealed as guilty of sexual abuse. Although the #MeToo movement definitely marks a start in bringing confidence to the victims of sexual abuse, it unfortunately also sends the entertainment industry as a whole reeling.