When we are admitted into to college after a grueling admission process, we expect our college lives to be full of sunshine, with good friends to study and hang out with, and perhaps with some romance along the way. However, for some people, this is not the case. Every year, there is much controversy about sexual crimes in universities, with the inflictors involving fellow students and even professors. This is a horrible thing to happen in a university, which should be a place where the peak of higher education takes place. However, if we look at how the students entering college have been educated about sexual crimes, and the environment they are exposed to after entering university, we can easily see why such a circuit of tragedy continues throughout college society.
To begin with, neither the education system, nor the students who go through it put in much time for sex education. Due to sex being a taboo in Korean culture, many parents leave the finer details of sex education for schools to teach. This is all very well, since schools also have a duty to educate its students properly in this field. Unfortunately, due to most schools choosing to focus on academic studies over this, students don’t have as many opportunities to be exposed to sex education. As an elementary student, such education only took up one unit of health education that is conducted once a week at most, and this remained practically the same as we moved up through school. In fact, because the demand of our academic studies, and the pressure of having to go to a good university increases as we go up a grade, more students choose to study or do other activities during the hours devoted to sexual education.
If we think back on our years in middle and high school, more than one person would remember themselves or their classmates catching up on their studies, or chatting with their friends during health class, including when the class focused on sexual education. This means that many students going through school would graduate with insufficient knowledge about sexual crimes, making them vulnerable to becoming victims and inflictors in the future. In order to score high in academic tests like the suneung, they throw away the opportunity to be educated in something that’s more important.
Furthermore, the situation exacerbates when these students go up to college. In order to enjoy ourselves after being released from the pressure of college admissions and to adjust to the new environment of universities, many college freshmen attend events held by their seniors. These events include freshman orientation, membership training, and recreation events held by clubs. During these events, many students often end up drinking, and sometimes even play games while they drink. Due to the fact that most of the people who attend are freshmen, they often go along with what their seniors tell them, in fear that they might make a bad impression.
This has resulted in some freshman being forced to do games that invoked sexual harassment, as happened in an OT event in a university situated in Seoul. Due to the authoritative atmosphere among students in some universities or departments, and because of some events that are handed down as tradition, new students find it hard to resist sexual harassment even when they know it is being inflicted on them. The people making up the student body are the same people who, owing to the demanding nature of the Korean university entrance exams, did not pay much attention during sex education class, and if they did, did not take it very seriously. Thus, these students lacking in proper knowledge regarding sexual violence will make up activities or treat their juniors according to their limited knowledge, resulting in more unwilling victims.
In order to stop the cycle of sexual violence in universities, we must put in more time and effort to proper sex education in schools, as well as increasing the level of punishment imposed on those who commit such heinous crimes. If students have a clear knowledge of what acts qualify as sexual harassment or violence, and how to react properly to defend themselves during such situations, it would greatly help with solving the problem of sexual crimes on campus. In order to do so, teachers must put in more effort to direct their student’s attention toward sex education classes, and students must be aware of the importance of such education, and put aside their studies long enough to listen properly.
In addition, stricter punishments should be imposed on those who commit sexual crimes on campus. If the perpetrators of sexual crime, even that which cause much controversy, get away with a low sentence, they would not be much intimidated by the fear of punishment if they plan to, or have committed sexual crimes. However, if potential inflictors see that those who commit such heinous crimes would meet with harsh measures, they would be warned of what their actions might bring for themselves, and would think twice before committing sexual crimes. The more people are aware of what is right and wrong in terms of matters related to sexual crime, and the consequences of such crime, the cleaner college campuses would be of such felonies.
To sum up, sexual violence in universities is not something that’s new to students. Even in HUFS, there have already been reports of sexual harassment this semester, to the shock and anger of many students, including myself. Since this is something that really happens around us, we must be aware that any of us could become victims or inflictors. Thus, it is essential to educate youngsters to have proper perceptions on matters related to sexual crime, and to severely punish those who have committed such horrible crimes. Only then can our college campuses be completely free of the dark shadow that is sexual crime.