South Korea's 'Women March For Justice' draws tens of thousands

South Korea's 'Women March For Justice' draws tens of thousands
© Kim Poohma/Instagram

An estimated 22,000 people gathered in South Korea over the weekend to protest the country's problem with spy cam surveillance and sexism in prosecutions, according to BuzzFeed.

It was the largest women's rally in South Korean history, despite coinciding with the summit between President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Gov. Ron DeSantis more popular in Florida than Trump Sotomayor accuses Supreme Court of bias in favor of Trump administration MORE and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — which is being held in Singapore — according to the news outlet.

ADVERTISEMENT

Many protestors carried strongly-worded signs at the event, such as "my life is not your porn." Several women shaved their heads in protest as well. 

The demonstration, organized by an anonymous collective known as Courage to Be Uncomfortable, came as a direct response to South Korea's ongoing problem with spy cameras being used to film explicit images of women, known as "molka." Perpetrators commonly record footage secretly on their phone or by using cameras installed in private spaces.

The Korean National Police Agency found in 2014 that on average 18 cases of "molka" are reported to police each day. Ninety-eight percent of offenders were male in 2016, according to the agency.

But police have faced scrutiny as well for what activists call an inadequate response to the problem. BuzzFeed notes that experts in Korean online sex offenses say that vague laws and government failures have resulted in distrust from victims. And that distrust peaked in May when a woman was arrested for secretly photographing a male model at an art class. 

It led to an arrest less than a day after the crime was reported. Women contend that the same treatment is not given to them when they are the victim. 

"How the public reacts to female and male victims is widely different. While a crime against a male victim receives critical attention, a female victim’s video is regarded as another porn," the organizers of the demonstration wrote in a statement, according to BuzzFeed. 

Despite the historic turnout, BuzzFeed reports that most participants covered their faces out of fear they'd be identified and shamed online.