Sexual Abuse at Seoul H.S. Outlined In ‘Petition of Tears’

Article from KBS: [August 3, 2015]

Female Teachers Suffer Sexual Abuse, Sign ‘Petition of Tears’, Describe Feeling ‘Incredibly Hopeless’

A case of habitual sexual harassment that took place in a Seoul high school has been made known to the world thanks to the courage of the female teachers who fell victim to it.

KBS News obtained the ‘Petition of Tears’ written by the female teachers.

It claims that a complacent initial response furthered the problem.

On July 16th, female teachers who suffered sexual harassment and their co-workers submitted a petition to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.

“We suffered continuous sexual molestation.” “I cried because I felt so hopeless and uneasy.” These are some of the detailed statements written in the petition.

In particular, the suspected sexual harassment and molestation case of three teachers that occurred last year was brought into focus.

But the principal of their school shelved the issue, saying that sexual harassment was a matter that could be sorted out among adults and that the victim needed to come forth and make a public accusation in order to handle the situation. The principal even appointed one teacher accused of molesting a female student as vice principal of the grade.

A teacher who signed the petition: ‘Multiple teachers sought out [the principal] to warn them. We voiced our concern. We said multiple times that the offending teacher needed to receive professional [sexual violence] prevention training, but there was no follow-up.’

Without any initial response, the accused teachers stopped acknowledging the problem.

A teacher who signed the petition: “He said he didn’t want to end up like the other accused teachers and then proceeded to touch a female student…we were shocked.”

But that’s not all.

The Office of Education confirmed that the professor who was relieved of his position only 10 days ago was also investigated by a prosecutor in June.

The parents of students at this school have recently visited the Office of Education to demand a proper investigation.

A teacher who signed the petition: “The students are vulnerable in this situation. These teachers leveraged their power to take advantage of the students. The students will probably suffer psychological trauma”.

It’s been 15 days since the special investigation began.

The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education has expanded its investigation into sex offenses of the five suspected teachers to include their previous employers.

Comments from Naver:


To think that those guys were teachers is really scary


Isn’t it common sense to investigate each year and only allow the decent human beings to keep teaching? Korea, where you can commit a sex crime and still be a teacher. Is this normal?


This all happened because punishment for sex crimes is too weak. Considering this can be a fatal crime to a girl, please punish them more strictly.


Sexual violence within a company or school must be punished strictly.


It seems like Korea is a tough place for those not in power to live.


The identities and backgrounds of the offenders are slowly being released, I hope they receive an appropriate punishment.


How can this happen in a public high school… in the end, it looks like the principals and teachers sneered upon that neighborhood.


This is a deplorable situation for the student’s parents. I filed a civil complaint at the end of last year to the education office because this school was so weird, where I noted that the principal and vice principal had no interest in education. But the district education office ignored my complaints. The teachers got away with sexual harassment because the principal turned a blind eye, which he did because of money problems. Their relationship was quite poor. Investigate the principal for embezzlement of public money!


The district education office! Get it together. Why do you even exist? If it were your kids, would you want to send them to this kind of school? No matter how many civilian complaints came in, you were always on the principal’s side! You guys should be investigated too. The superintendent should also apologize. At its foundation, you guys appointed a principal and vice principal who had no teaching experience to this school. That was a mistake off the bat. This school reigned over the students and their parents. Is a principal that great? I complained that the teachers were not doing their jobs well and asked that they be a little more enthusiastic, and what do they say? ‘We’ll do it our way. We have the authority to decide how we teach.’ Teachers have the authority to not do their job properly? Ugh


The principal is a real bastard. He absolutely must have his pension confiscated and be thrown in jail.


Those pieces of shit. The female teachers must have been so stressed.


Expel every last person responsible for neglect of duty in the Ministry of Education as well as the suspects and start an investigation. There can be no proper education with this going on.


Anyone who knows a thing or two knows that teachers make a real mess when they go out for drinks together.


Give those middle aged pigs who shook the very souls of those girls a proper punishment and strap an ankle bracelet on them for life.


Shut this mess of a school down and move everyone to a new school. From the beginning the students always hated going there. Those filthy beings! Expel them all. They’ve probably been sexually harassing people their whole lives while teaching. Those poor students! The trauma of this still remains with them.

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  • NorthFront

    Do not trust Korean Police, Do not trust Korean Jury system. Korean girls get paid by police to make up BS stories. Be aware of this. It does happen in Korea.

  • commander

    It is shocking that female teachers and soldiers, commissioned and non-commissioned, often suffer from indelible sexual harassment and abuses from their seniors.

    Also more disturbing is that accused perpetrators are often imposed with a slap on the wrist.

    Each time harrowing sexual cases happens, the authorities often vow to eradicate what victims describe traumatic experiences–a pledge that often fails to translate into concrete actions.

    One of the conceivably reasonable solutions to recurring sexual violence in schools and military barracks is to set up an investigative agency independent of schools and military with which wrong doers could pull some strings to get away with their professional misconduct.

    Investigation should be promptly launched about sexual abuse allegation upon a victim report being made.

    The probe results, if finding there is reasonable grounds for indictment, should be submitted to the prosecution for criminal charges.

    Meanwhile, it is important to make sure that victims should not be subject to any disadvantages in their workplaces.


    • bigmamat

      I’m afraid this kind of thing is institutionalized and propped up by the society at large. Much the same way that rape culture and racial profiling are in the US. In order for things like this to change it takes a concentrated effort by the government and citizen groups to change the culture. I have often wondered when modern educated young Koreans would begin to rebel against their rigid class structured society. I think these kind of things are often very slow to change.

      • commander

        The latest sexual abuse is a clear illustration of why changes should be made to the core of institutions where our future generations–young schoolers and 20-something able-bodied men–are taught and trained.

        Without mounting a large scale campaign to alert the public about seriousness of sexual violence and ensuing traumatic memory for victims, and stepping up punishments for sexual offenders serious enough to make an example out of it, sexual harrassment remains a possibility for many women who consider themselves to be underdogs and defenseless to the abuse of power and position by their seniors for sexual abuses.

        • bigmamat

          Pretty much what I said isn’t it? I have something else to say as well. Women need to help themselves. Women will never gain autonomy by passively surrendering to their own subjugation. Korean women are educated now. Korea is no longer a “third world” country. It’s time for this younger generation of Korean woman to demand better treatment for themselves and their daughters. There’s no reason why Korean woman should continue to live up to their reputation of passivity. They need to rebel against a social structure that devalues them in the workforce and continues to only see their worth as sex partners, mothers, and decoration.

  • KP

    Korea must have many unreported sexual crime. Equal to Japan.

  • Andrew

    It sounds terrible, but this article reads like a collection of headlines. The article needs more depth.

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