A disturbing video showing a South Korean woman on a sofa in a night club being increasingly harassed by two Western men is causing a stir this week. The video has spurred a heated discussion about Western expats in the country — while others are even criticizing the victim herself.
The video begins with what appears to be the woman minding her own business while the men start recording her close up and making sexual comments about her body as if she were non-existent.
“Look at her f**king legs,” one of them says as the camera then pans up to her chest, while the other man brushes aside her hair to reveal a low-cut top.
The woman appears inebriated as the men touch her face, one even putting his finger up her nose and then into her mouth as she mildly protests.
The men then criticize the state of the woman’s teeth and say, “why the f**k don’t you get plastic surgery like every other f**king Korean little b**ch.” The woman at this point is more alert and combative against the men who are physically and verbally assaulting her.
Watch the video that has been reposted to YouTube for now (Content warning: strong language and disturbing images):
The Washington Post reported that the video first was uploaded in early June on several Korean websites and YouTube. It was removed from YouTube due to its graphic nature but has since been reposted this month on both YouTube and Facebook.
The Post wrote that response to the video takes on a topic beyond just that of the extremely inappropriate interactions with the woman:
The significance of this video extends, for many Koreans, way beyond just these two Western men harassing one Korean woman. Western expats have been in Seoul for years. As in other Asian cities, these expat communities can have their bad apples, typically young men who misbehave, either because it’s in their nature, because they think they can get away with things in Asia that would never be tolerated at home, or both. I sent the video to several Westerners who have spent time in Korea among other expats; they all said that while this is an extreme and highly unusual case, it’s not so uncommon in Seoul to see young Western men drinking heavily and shouting after local women.
It has also moved from concern about expats in the country to criticism of the woman being abused herself:
According to T.K. Park, a D.C.-based Korean American who knows both countries well and runs the blog Ask a Korean, many of the Web commenters seem to blame her for what happened. Some argue she deserved it for hanging around Western men. “She went crazy over white guys, lived at a club, and ran into trouble,” one Jagei.com commenter surmised. Another wrote, “After that, I think she’s going to go clubbing to meet white guys again.” After being abused in person by two Western men, she’s now enduring online abuse by a number of her fellow countrymen.
Sentiments such as these are similar to those that have been made in some cases where a drunk woman gets raped. An Amnesty International poll in 2005 found more than a quarter of Britons think a woman is at least partially responsible for being raped if she wore suggestive clothing or was drunk.
Tennis star Serina Williams recently reached out to the family of the woman in the Steubenville rape case to apologize after she was quoted in Rolling Stone magazine saying, “I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don’t take drinks from other people.”
Eventually, the Korean woman in the video had enough. She tells the men off, gets up and removes herself from the situation. This, the Washington Posts’ Max Fisher wrote “is the closest this story gets to having a hero.”