8 in 10 South Korean men used violence against girlfriends: Study

A study has shown that 8 out of 10 Korean men had used violence against their girlfriend.
A study has shown that 8 out of 10 Korean men had used violence against their girlfriend.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - About eight in 10 South Korean men said they have used violence against their romantic partners, a study showed.

According to a study conducted by the Korean Institute of Criminology, 1,593 out of 2,000 South Korean men, or 79.7 per cent, said they had abused a girlfriend during the dating period.

About 71 per cent of those who admitted to a history of dating abuse said they had control over their girlfriends' activities, such as restricting them from meeting friends or keeping them isolated from others, including family members.

Of these, 485 people said they regularly called to check who the partner was with. Others said they called until their girlfriends picked up the phone, or placed restrictions on how they dressed.

Another 37.9 per cent of 1,593 respondents, or 603 men, said dating abuse involved sexual harassment, followed by psychological abuse (36.6 per cent), physical violence (22.4 per cent), sexual abuse (17.5 per cent) and inflicting injuries (8.7 per cent).

In terms of psychological or emotional abuse, 23.1 per cent said they had slammed a door or stamped on the ground in anger when they were with their girlfriends.

Among those who were physically violent with their partners, nearly 25 per cent said they had touched a partner's breasts, buttocks or genitals without agreement.

About 100 men said they had bruised their partners or left them with small scars. Some even said their girlfriends had passed out or had suffered a broken bone.

Researcher Hong Young Oh, who led the study, said for a high number of those who restricted their partners' movements, the behaviour stems from a deep-rooted patriarchal attitude of South Korean men.

"The high number of such actions show that the abusers themselves were not aware of or did not recognise their actions as dating abuse. But victims who had their activities restricted by their boyfriends saw it as serious enough to say that they wanted to break up."

The study also showed that the acceptability of violence, childhood experience of domestic violence and emotional instability were attributed to various types of violent actions by abusers while dating.

Earlier this month, data from the National Police Agency showed that 8,367 people were booked on charges of physical violence against their partners in 2015, up 8.8 per cent from the previous year. The total number of physical assault cases here was 305,957 in 2015.

In late July, police launched a 100-day action plan to crack down on violence against women amid increased public concerns over a viral video that showed a man assaulting his ex-girlfriend and then chasing her in a one-tonne truck in Sindang-dong, central Seoul.