Korean Government’s Sex Ed Criticized for Notions of Victim Blaming and Date Rape

2015-05-12 23:50:19 2015-05-12 23:59:54
Date Rape

According to a report by The Korea Herald, the South Korean government’s official teaching aid for sex education is receiving criticism for its troublesome notions of date rape and victim blaming.

The teaching aid, which is available to the public for download on the Korean Educational Development Institute website, encourages students to wear “appropriate clothes or school uniforms” when dating, which Lee Hyun Sook of the Korea Youth Sexuality Center in Seoul points out can perpetuate the problematic practice of victim blaming.

“It’s related to the thinking that the rape victim is responsible because she was wearing a short skirt or whatever. [The government] is attempting to prevent incidents by telling teens to dress appropriately, but what is really needed is for them to be taught that no matter what the other person is wearing, it is a violation to act in any way that he or she did not consent to,” Lee Hyun Sook says.

She also takes issue with a slide that cites “the imbalance in who pays for dates” as a cause of date rape, “Rather than being told to just always split the check, teens need to be taught things like how to conduct themselves in a variety of situations and relationships or how to work out a difference in opinions with another person.”

Lee Hyun Sook continues, “If paying for all the dates is an issue then the student needs to know how to talk to the other person about it. If the conflict isn’t resolved, then the relationship may end. However, dating expenses can never for any reason be a reason for rape.”

Date Rape

Jeong Hae Sook, a researcher at the Korean Women’s Development Institute, insists that the most worrisome slide is one entitled “Why It Is Difficult to Deny Others’ Requests,” which reads, “While it’s ideal to be able to comply with another person’s request or favor, the problem is that it’s not always possible to do so in interpersonal relationships.” She comments, “A common request to help with a task at work is fundamentally different from a one-sided demand for unwanted sexual relations.”

By putting it in such an ambiguous way without explaining the difference between everyday relationships and dating relationships, Jeong Hae Sook claims that “the chapter regarding date rape can give off the impression that one should comply whenever possible with sexual requests even if one does not desire it. This is extremely dangerous. [Sex education] should not tell students to always oblige a request but equip them to know and express clearly what they want and don’t wait.”

What are your thoughts on the South Korean government’s dating guidelines?

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