it is completely ignored
Young women in North Korea are helpless when it comes to sexually offensive behavior, according to defectors. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo
By Elizabeth Shim
SEOUL, July 12 (UPI) -- There are no words to describe crimes such as rape and transgressions like sexual harassment in North Korea, according to defectors in the South.
New Focus International, a news service founded by a North Korean defector, interviewed resettled North Koreans who said they had "never heard of" terms like rape and sexual harassment until they arrived in the South.
The concepts don't really have a place in North Korea, according to the press report.
One defector identified by the surname Jang, originally from the North Korean border town of Musan, said North Korean security guards often tell women to "make do with their bodies" if they don't have money.
"They often joke that if women have nothing to give, they can at least give up their bodies," Jang told New Focus.
Security agents in North Korea who can wield power often call young women into their office to feel up their breasts.
Women are often helpless and cannot file complaints, Jang said.
"That is because accusing people in power of wrongdoing can undermine their own personal safety," the defector said.
Jang also witnessed a woman being sexually harassed by multiple North Korean soldiers in a privately operated bus.
When the woman raised her voice in protest, the soldiers started verbally attacking her and invited other soldiers to sexually humiliate her, Jang said.
Park Ok-kyung, a defector from the North Korean city of Hamhung, said she did not realize what sexual harassment was until she resettled in South Korea.
Park said when she first began her life in the South she was harassed sexually as she worked at a part-time job in a restaurant.
Two years later, she said she now could identify sexually offensive behavior.
North Korea declared gender equality in 1946 but defector testimonies show women are not being protected from abusive and violent behavior.
In March a female North Korean defector Kim Eun-mi testified that a group of North Korean soldiers recently gang-raped a North Korean woman crewmember on a train.