After the tragic random killing at Gangnam Station, famous for Psy’s “Gangnam Style”, last Tuesday on May 17th, thousands of citizens in Seoul made visits of condolence to the most crowded place in South Korea for the victim of the crime.
Last year in Paris, the messages of “Je suis Charlie” and “Je suis en terrasse” circulated and spread out both online and offline globally. Millions rallied after Paris attacks, posting “Je suis Charlie” protesting against terror. This year in South Korea, thousands of sticky notes saying “Je suis en Gangnam”, “I am at Gangnam” and “I’m a lucky woman to survive” were posted on Gangnam Station, and the phrases were tweeted millions of times.
In South Korea from last week till today, Koreans rallied against the murder case saying that the victim died just because she was a woman. The Seoul Police had concluded on Sunday that the case was a random killing committed because of mental illness. However the suspect already admitted that the crime was targeted on any women in revenge of how he felt belittled and ignored by women.
His statement instantly stirred public emotions and people called the case “hate crime” targeted on a certain group, females only. While police pointed out that the murder of the first woman he saw meant that the crime was unplanned and not systematic, there are enough evidence to assume it as a hate crime from his misogynistic intention behind killing and the fact that he let go of 6 men who came into the toilet and killed the first woman that walked in.
Police’s lackadaisical conclusion which seems to be justifying a murder targeted on a woman by mental illness enraged Koreans. The crime triggered public sentiments of fear among females since 90% victims of violent crimes such as burglary and rape. People felt that Korean society is too used to gender discrimination and bias, and violence against women. Also the facts that it took place at Seoul’s the busiest area where many young women pass by everyday stirred up the fear that they, any woman, “herself” could have been the victim.
However, this sentiment is not shared by many males and created a public discord. Korean men complain that women are denouncing all men, and argue that the crime stems solely from mental problem, and has nothing to do with misogyny. With increasing tension, male protestors and female activists clashed. On 21st, masked males with placards reading “Not all men are potential murderers” and “It’s not misogynist crime” appeared on where the mourners were.
South Korea has a low crime rate according to the 2015 U.S State Department Report on world crime records, but the statistics show that reported sexual violence cases were increased in recent years, and South Korea ranks 115th out of 145 in the Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum.
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