Female Soldier Commits Suicide After Constant Sexual Harassment

A female officer in the military took her own life after suffering ten months of abuse and sexual demands from her superior officer, according to her suicide note. The note was made public with the consent of the victim’s family by National Assembly Member Sohn In-Chun, part of her larger investigation into widespread abuse of female soldiers.

Netizens were disgusted by the treatment of women, some of them seeing this as evidence of the general corrupt behavior throughout the military and others seeing it as another reason why women should not become soldiers. As Korean women have made headway in the army, gaining the ability to join ROTC in 2010, there have been stories of fatal accidents and abuse of female soldiers, spurring discussion of what it means to have both genders serve in the military.

Article from Kyunghyang:

Female Soldier, Captain, Commits Suicide Over Sexual Harassment

Last Wednesday, October 16th, it was revealed that a military captain, surname Oh, 28, took her own life and left evidence that she was suffering due to an immediate superior’s sexual demands and harsh treatment.

October 24th, Gyeryongdae, Gyeryong-­si, Chungnam. At an inspection of Army headquarters, National Assembly Member Sohn In­-Chun of the Saenuri Party, and a member of the National Defense Committee, made the contents of Captain Oh’s suicide note public. The suicide note had been provided by the family of the deceased.

Congresswoman Sohn In­-Chun at the legislative hearing.

Congresswoman Sohn In­-Chun at the legislative hearing.

Congresswoman Sohn discusses the contents of the suicide note. In the note, Oh writes that her boss, Major Noh, 36, made sexual demands of her. Oh, who was engaged to be married, rejected Noh’s advances. Noh then subjected the junior officer to forced overtime and harsh treatment over a period of 10 months.

According to her family, Oh suffered verbal abuse and sexual harassment over the span of 10 months. Noh even went as far as suggesting that, “If you just sleep with me once, I’ll make sure you have an easier time here.” Confirming the family’s story, the military police arrested Noh on the 17th.

Sohn questioned the Military Chief of Staff, Kwon Oh­-Seong, asking, “Is this the situation for all female soldiers in Korea? Is the reality that our entire army is committing verbal abuse, sexual harassment, and unbelievable coercement?”

Kwon stated that, “I think we must examine yet again the state of our military. I will make a thorough investigation to settle the matter of [Captain Oh’s] death.”

Oh was found dead in a parking lot in DaMok­ri, Sangsa­myeon, Hwacheon, Gangwon­do at 2:50 in the afternoon on October 16th. A graduate from the 54th class of the Women’s Army Corps, she was transferred into the Army last December. Reporting by Hong Jin­Su

Comments from Naver:

csh7****:

Because of things like that the military can’t do anything right. He wasn’t the only bastard like that. There are a lot of guys like that.

kkk8****:

Nowhere in Korean society is untouched by corruption, but the military is the worst of all. The military is closed off from society so there’s a limit to how much people can know about any corruption within it. Only if you have been to the army can you know just how severe the corruption is. The Korean military is still far from ideal. It’d be good if women didn’t enter the military. Even as a commissioned officer, the military is the military. Military life is hard enough for men, how much can women take? Anyway, even though the deed is done, that man should be punished under military law and dishonorably discharged.

korea-officer-sex-harassment-suicide2

mine****:

The laws against sexual offenders in this country are too lenient. Just look at Cho Doo­Soon, you’ll see how bad it is.. He took an eight-­year-old kid and to get off he takes out all of her organs, then says crazy shit like, “She would’ve experienced this anyway when she got older.” Then the courts gave this fucker a lesser punishment.The laws need to be revised, those mother f*****.

sydz****:

A person only dies once, if it isn’t Oh who’s pitiful, it’s Noh. Whatever that piece of trash is isn’t barely surviving why only when appalling things happen are measures taken? These rotten pieces of shits, the Korean military should be turned upside down. Just how rotten it is can’t even be imagined these sons of bitches…

lees****:

It really would be great if those horny sons of bitches would just disappear. Crazy shits, if you’re not a dog then what are you? Just pathetic.

kipe****:

That’s the kind of guy I’d like to tear apart till he just dies. Also at our pharmaceutical company my aunt , not long after entering the company was a victim of rape and then committed suicide. Those sons of bi***… Those fuckers aren’t men, they’re complete scoundrels.

emin****:

He’s really a lethal and shameful ass. Even to someone who’s engaged, it’s not enough to just sexually harass her ­ she didn’t sleep with him so he makes her work overtime for 10 months.

aout****:

Major Noh, let’s get your entire family’s personal information and share it with the world!!!

simj****:

Hey Major Noh! Just like those New Chicken Shit Party people looks like your life is ruined! Maybe if you do a good job you could get a medal! Those Saenuri idiots would love it!

peac****:

Lately whenever I read the comments on a website, you can’t even tell if this is an Islamic country or if it’s really Korea. Anonymous women going around like they’re in charge, they can’t really say that they would get married to a Korean man. If a good guy isn’t as good­-looking as his personality he gets even worse so he leaves his family behind and cheats, those guys who call themselves soldiers that go and ****. In this country, even a famous mentor for college girls got divorced because of domestic violence. ㅠㅠ For God’s sake let’s not be like this.

sieu****:

Looks like my prediction was correct. In a place like the military there must be so many ignorant people… If women work in the military there are a lot of men so it seems like it would be a good thing but a lot of older guys come on to them trying to get laid. It’s the kind of place where they look for an opportunity to sexually harass and rape.

kiry****:

Just go get busy with your wife… why do you mess with subordinates…

soon****:

Major Noh.. go burn in hell..just a complete piece of s***.

3403****:

As a professional soldier, I can’t say female soldiers can really be soldiers. Unilateral authority and commands given by superiors to their subordinates is more strict than in other organizations. It’s harsh so for female soldiers sexual harassment is a little more exaggerated so there also are some military men who see them as sexual playthings. Especially female soldiers with pretty faces will usually face, knowingly or unknowingly, a lotof sexual harassment from their superiors, and it’s a shitty environment where superiors will have a lot of influence to spread rumors by calling her a slut.

Results of a 2012 survey of South Korean female soldiers by the National Human Rights Commission. Found that  11.9% of respondents had been subject to sexual harassment in the past year and 41.3%  had heard or seen someone close to them been subject to sexual harassment.

Results of a 2012 survey of South Korean female soldiers by the National Human Rights Commission. Found that 11.9% of respondents had been subject to sexual harassment in the past year and 41.3% had heard or seen someone close to them been subject to sexual harassment.

wwwc****:

Honestly if you look for it there will be more lol they’ll all just kind of put up with that person, but lol

blue****:

If you look closely at the current state of the Korean military its so … closed to the outside world that there must be a lot more situations like that one… There’s a lot of offensive men.

glom****:


Execute that mother fu****.

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  • Ash

    Major Noh. More like Major Asshole. (Which is a rather tame insult given what he did).

  • Guest23

    Damn shame, South Korea still has a long way on some of it’s perception and treatment of women, wondering if she did file a complaint to her superiors but they just shrugged it off, a lot of machismo men can stereotype that women can never be soldiers.

    • Guest

      While I agree that SK needs to improve gender equality, I don’t think this case is really relevant to that. There is tons of sexual harassment and abuse to women in the US military also. It’s more of a result of being stuck in a high stress area with a bunch of testosterone fueled men.

      • chucky3176

        Wait. How is it that when things like this happen in Korea, it’s due to gender inequality (as outlined by Guest23), but when it happens in the US, it’s “high stress area with a bunch of testosterone fueled men”??

        • Guest

          You misread my comment. My point is that sexual abuse cases in the military has the same roots regardless of country.

    • harvz

      This could happen in almost any country.

      • Guest23

        Yup, sorry if my point comes out in some other way, not generalizing South Korea here, but they really have to do more to insure some sort of mechanism to destroy some biases on the military there, but then again it’s been a problem for the world for a long time.

      • Chinese

        This reminds me of the cast private Danny Chen. Don’t know what happened to the perpetrators.i think there was a coverup.

        • linette lee

          Most of those perpetrators served a few months in jail and then back to normal duty. It was just disgusting. In my opinion Danny Chen was shot in the head by them because Chen was filing complaint to the big guy.

        • Chinese

          Don’t know why CS allows unregistered user using the same username as mine.

      • http://www.sos-symphysiotomy.com/ redgirls

        yep, Army brat here, born in an army hospital grew up in “married quarters” all over the world..No fkn way I would sign up.. Green bra and knickers you can keep it as far as i’m concerned ..good luck.

    • Jang

      “Still has a long way to go”
      Whoever thought otherwise? You didn’t really ever think progress had been made now did you?

  • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

    “As a professional soldier, I can’t say female soldiers can really be soldiers.”

    And they wonder why they are so low on the whole gender equality thing…

    • lonetrey / Dan

      My eyes were drawn to that comment as well.

    • Sillian

      It seems the netizen means combat roles by ‘real soldiers’.

    • linette lee

      That’s sad. The women soldiers they die for their country too. How can some of them think so lowly of them? Women soldiers get the same training too. So how can they be anything less? They can fly fighter jets and shoot a machine gun. And they can easily shoot automatic firearm by pulling a trigger. In US the gov’t they just made it official that female soldiers will be allowed to serve in the front line combat zone. But even before that, they were already fighting and dying for their country.

      Women In Combat: Now It’s Official, But They Were Already Fighting
      http://www.ibtimes.com/women-combat-now-its-official-they-were-already-fighting-1040702

      • chucky3176

        That’s all good until they show the captured US women soldier POW’s on Taliban TV, being beaten up, tortured, and raped.

        Then the tune will change and everyone will be demanding to know who the hell is responsible for letting the women go into battle fields.

        • Guest23

          Yup, pretty much the dilemma now and the constant debate on what happens when they do get pregnant, and those people with the extreme political leanings will sometimes say they should go for it, because every life is sacred, even the bastard child of the rapist in question.

        • mr.wiener

          Indeed, the problem is not the women, but the men. In the Israeli army they found that woman with the right aptitude made good soldiers and where well respected and trusted by their male companions, but when their female comrades were killed or injured the male soldiers often suffered mental breakdowns or went on killing rampages.
          I guess guys are just hardwired that way.

          • jon777

            Yeah, men are protective of their women. It’s stupid to have them on the battlefield.

      • commander

        How are things going for women in China’s People’s Liberation Army?

        • linette lee

          They fly fighter jets.

          http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/files/authors/886/6a0128773aba66970c013481316789970c-800wi.jpg

          Chinese women comprise about 7.5 percent of total military personnel in the PLA (Xinhua net, 2008). Though most women soldiers still serve in traditional women roles or in military support positions, more women soldiers appear on positions that involved dangerous tasks. In 2009, the first batch of female jet fighter pilots, aged 21 to 24, graduated after 44 months of training (China news, 2009). There are also women serve in Marine Corps, Special Forces, drug criminal police, etc. At the same time, women soldiers began to appear in public through mass media more often. During the 60th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China military parade, the marching group formed by female soldiers caught much attention. All of the women soldiers were marching in short miniskirts and white leather boots through Tiananmen Square. The group of female soldiers consists of troops from the army, the navy and the air force, which makes it the biggest marching group in the modern history of military parades anywhere in the world. According to China’s state channel, CCTV, the requirement for female participation in the commemorating parade was being “brave, beautiful and elegant” altered from being just “brave”(alifeinasuitcase, 2011).

          I read it’s getting very popular for women to join because it gives them training and opportunities for jobs. But some argued the process of selection.

          • commander

            Thanks for your tip.

        • linette lee

          If I was born in China into a middle class, I would try to get in too. Study and and trained apply for skilled position. The best job is gov’t job.

      • jon777

        Men can’t handle it. So women shouldn’t serve on the front lines. It doesn’t matter how good they are. Men will be distracted by a womans presence.

    • Probotector

      Um, that’s how it sort of is in many countries.

      • A Gawd Dang Mongolian

        And I doubt they rate too high. But unlike Korea, I don’t see much complaints coming from them.

  • commander

    Two problems.

    First, in the Korean military, commanders have God-like authority and influences which can be only checked by their superiors, who can give grades in personnel assessment for career advancement.

    Some commanders devote their entire life to serve the military without quality time with their families and enduring frequent transfers to other regions.

    But some problematic commanders who are less intelligent (causing vast troubles for subordinates and their forces) and are under severe pressure to fare better in running their units from superiors who are also obsessed with the evaluations by their superiors, are wrongly driven to relish in teasing low-performing underlings and in making sexual advances at female officers.

    The death of a female officer who is afflicted by dogged and unsavory intentional abuses is tragic.

    Second, the military organization is parochial, isolated and strict in sticking to a chain of command.

    These traits make it impossible for a soldier (male or female and officer or private) who suffers abuses from an immediate boss to seek a help to escape out it.

    The enclosed culture within the military has high chances of driving any solider in trouble to the extreme choice of committing suicide or going on a shooting rampage, giving a partia explanation about why a not few number of soldiers in the military service died in tragic incidents even in peacetime and raising a puzzling question of why soldiers are figuratively at each other’s throat in peacetime.

    To eliminate all kinds of abuses within the military, comprehensive measures should be formulated and undertaken, ranging from changes in personnel appraisal for promotion, to the establishment of whistleblowling systems with protections of a leaker.

    Pledges of a thorough vetting and a harsh punishement after an incident may be helpful in calming a wave of condemnation for the military, but dont secure the preventuon of a recurrence.

  • commander

    My view on women’s eligiblity for military career in South Korea.

    Before taking a step, we need to separate two topics.

    The first one is whether women are as capable as men are in conducting military missions.

    The second is whether the military fuctions to have an environment where women can serve in the military.

    Let’s take the first topic.

    In physical capability, some women measure up to the required level for the military service, though it is relatively low compared with men’s. But it’s fair enough as men and women are born with different body structures.

    This physical equality means some women passing phsical tests can serve on equal footing with men in a combat mission, a point that spurred the decision of the US Defense to remove the combat mission ban for women this year.

    But the second topic presents a challenge for women’s actual undertaking of military missions as men do.

    The Korean military boast a staggering 600,000 standing soldiers, with the number including reservists reaching 2 million.

    [Note: South Korea, still at ceasefire with North Korea whose stated aim is to communize the entire Korean Peninsula, impose about 2 year obligatory military service only on men. So women are not required to get drafted. All women in military uniforms are career soldiers. ]

    This colossal organization spend much of its defense budget in clothing, feeding and sheltering its soldiers, but still many units possess outdated quarters, weapons, and facilities, making some soldiers endure inconveniences in daily life. Soldiers are often required to do sundry and strenuous work, including repairing quarters and building new gurad posts and batteries and so.

    This means a posting of a female officer, commissioned and non-commissioned, to a unit as a platton leader or staff officer etc., brings a lot of inconveniences, including building new restroom by soldiers in that unit and making it hard private soldiers in quarters to put on and take off their uniforsm freely and so on.

    The glaring inconvenience occurs when a military field training is conducted. A female officer endures thick smoking and is often at a loss when nature calls come to her.

    But the biggest challenge for women soldiers to servce in the Kirean military is that fiedl commanders do avoid accepting them as novices. As above mentioned, commanders who are big on personnel evaluations from their superiors often demand the heraculean efforts and commitments from their subordinates which are of course not in field manuals.

    They regard women soldiers as a loss to combat readiness not as a reinforcement to it as they think combat environments are dominated by uncertainties and requires the stick compliance with orders from above, no matter what orders are made.

    As a result, a considerable number of woen soldiers are working in non combat areas at a regimental level or more, doing logistical support for combat units in the front line.

    These reality facing the South Korean military is the reason why a vast majority of men who completed the mandatry military service shake their heads when women are equal to men in the military.

    In a nutshell, realistic restraints–tight military budget and macho culture are more of a challenge for female advancement into the military than the questoning of women’s phyical endurance for the military service.

  • holdingrabbits

    Personally, I find it really hard to believe that a Korean organization would ever promote corrupt individuals or that a Korean man (much less one in a position of power) would make unwanted sexual advances towards a woman. This is probably leftist propaganda from people who don’t want to see this struggling, and still developing country, succeed.

  • bigmamat

    I would say that the U.S. has had women in the military for many years without any problems but that would be wrong. The U.S. military is facing some serious issues right now with sexual assault in the ranks. This doesn’t mean that women aren’t capable especially in support positions which they have occupied for decades. The problem is the same as in Korean culture. The military is a perfect place for sexual abuse to go unnoticed until it gets out of hand.

    • aasdf

      The US has problems with the sexual assault of women in the military going unreported. It’s always THE issue on the news whenever the military and women come up. In general regardless of culture there are always men in positions of power who are assholes and abuse their authority in the military.

      • aasdf

        Oh yeah, and even if women report it they are pressured by their superiors to stay quiet and sometimes even punished with demotions/leave of absences.

        • bigmamat

          Yes, it’s still a man’s world.

  • Mighty曹

    Rapes in the US military service often go unreported and the suicide rate is extremely low. But the problem exists.

  • David Huber

    This is ok. Koreans will just blame japan…. Ignore it… And do it again….

    • Sillian

      That sarcastic comment sounds random and misplaced.

  • bultak23

    You should not be loyal to corrupt superiors. -Confucius

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  • Mike

    Innocent till proven guilty

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