In the case, the Seoul Central District Court sentenced a 50-year-old bus driver to six months in jail – suspended for two years – after he injured a male student who had been busy conducting a sex attack in his vehicle. The driver managed to stop the attack – the second the student had been involved in on the bus – but the student's eye was injured in the process. KASA said that the driver had abandoned his duty of driving the vehicle and hadn’t even let the student finish his sex attack before talking to him.
After the ruling, which KASA welcomed, a spokesman for the group told reporters at a press conference “Our members work in a difficult profession, sometimes at the same time as trying to hold down other jobs, and while they prefer to pursue their art in privacy, sometimes they have to conduct it in the public spotlight, which can be incredibly traumatizing for them. Recently some individuals have tried to interfere in our members’ activities and infringe on their human rights – we hope this case sends a powerful message that rape and sexual assaults are not a serious issue and other people should mind their own business when our members are conducting them.”
In recent months KASA had come under pressure on a variety of fronts. In October, a woman, who rules prevent from being a member of the male-only group, was accused of having sex with a 15-year-old student – shocking Korea’s misogynist establishment and leading to open questioning of whether sex with children over the age of 13 should be made illegal to prevent women from indulging in the previously male-dominated pastime. Then, some foreign sex attackers - who are treated more harshly than Korean men under the Korean legal system - called for KASA to open up its membership to non-Koreans so they can be afforded the same legal protections, but KASA refused. At the same time, KASA accused the Government of consistently and deliberately under-reporting the number of attacks its members conduct, making it difficult for the group to gain greater official recognition. The group was also angered when last year's Seoul Rape Festival was canceled at short notice after some shocked tourists were seen taking photographs of the signs.
In some court cases KASA says, sex attacks have even been called by their official dictionary definitions of assaults, molestations and rapes, negative language which the group believes can unfairly stigmatize its members and prejudice their legal cases. KASA welcomed not just the outcome of the legal ruling on Sunday, but also the wording, which accused the bus driver of stopping the male student “from making a scene”. The group prefers to characterize the actions of its members as ‘scenes’, ‘incidents’ or ‘happenings’ rather than ‘violations’ or ‘rapes’, and has accused some non-KASA members in the legal profession of deliberately using emotive language to portray them less positively.
Until the case on Sunday, the last legal victory for Korean rapists had come in May last year, when Seoul High Court cleared a man who had taken a woman's t-shirt after he broke into her home and attacked her. The Court ruled that when a man rapes a woman and is given something by her afterwards when he asks for it, it isn't theft if there is no threat involved. At the time KASA argued that "rape would be a very poorly paid occupation in Korea if our members were not legally able to obtain money and other items from the female participant afterwards."
But the successful case this week was the second win for the Korean Association of Sex Attackers in a week. On January 7th a judge in Seoul Southern District Court's 12th Criminal Division ordered a 58-year-old teacher – who had previous convictions for sexually attacking children - to pay a 5 million won fine after he was found guilty of molesting a 14-year-old girl in a store. In that case the judge said that while the lasting mental trauma caused to the victim was “not good”, the teacher’s decision to take early retirement following the hearing was “commendable” and unlike in the later bus-driver 'Good Samaritan' case he declined to impose a jail sentence. KASA’s official policy is to oppose prison terms for its members while accepting the need to pay fines and compensation on occasion. “This is just like paying for sex and makes those who unfairly try to prosecute our members look like whores, which is how our members - both within and outside the legal profession - and some other men in Korean society see them anyway.”
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