Downfall of the Stars1)
The more famous a person is, the greater they need to be aware of how they influence others and as such they must be more cautious of their behavior. In the middle of 2019, the media is shedding light on the sex scandals of many celebrities that occurred in the first half of the year. Following sexual abuse allegations against Jung Joonyoung, other females have gained the confidence to speak out about male celebrities such as Kim Sungjun and Kang Jihwan. The number of sexual crimes in the news has risen in 2019 largely due to a change in people's perception of sexual crimes. In the past, victims of sexual crime did not speak out and kept the assault hidden, thinking it was too shameful to tell others. Especially, because the perpetrator was a celebrity and in a more authoritative position, the victim would not mention the crime, fearing the consequences. However, because of campaign efforts starting in South Korea in 2018 called the Me Too movement, victims of sex crimes have begun to speak out publically about the crime rather than hide the assault. Along with the social movement, criminals are being fully investigated, and many people joined the With You movement, which helped lessened concealment of being victimized by a crime. Celebrities, however, though they are being investigated for controversies involving sexual crimes, are making comebacks within very short periods.
According to Korean Sexual Violence Relief Center, secondary damage is defined as a victim suffering mental, social, and economic disadvantage or psychological distress after experiencing sexual violence due to the negative reaction from a judicial authority, medical institution, family, friends, or media. In other words, it refers to the shifting of blame from the criminal to the victim from which the victim suffers greater injury. The victims of Kang Jihwan’s sexual crimes, for which he was charged and arrested for on July 12, continue to suffer secondary damage from uploaded postings on the Internet. Victims have also been threatened by affiliates of Kang and pushed to take an out-of-court settlement. They are suffering secondary damage from rumors that are spreading fast over the Internet. Their personal information has been revealed, so they are also receiving threats related to their employment. Victims were not only violated physically and mentally by the attacker but are being violated a second time from secondary damage. Moreover, celebrities relatively unharmed return to their position in the media after a short absence. Actor Lee Gyeongyeong was sentenced to 10 months in prison, with 2 years of probation and 160 hours of community service in 2001 for acts against a minor. However, his return to television on a SBS drama was notified in 2018. Before that, he was still appearing in many films and on cable TV. Because of the comebacks of criminal celebrities, there is a call for a big change in a society where the victim is criticized and the perpetrator lives honorably.
1) Kim Eungyeong, “’Yeonyega junggye’ Opens Kang Jihwan Victims’ Original Message to the Public… Serious Secondary Damage”, MK Sports, July 19, 2019