To mentally dominate and control other people, making them incapacitated is called gaslighting.

It can be said to be a kind of psychological violence that is invisible, and anyone can be a victim.

However, there are many cases where you do not know that you are a victim, and even if you notice it, legal punishment is difficult.

Reporter Seo-Hyun Ahn focused on this issue.


I met two gaslighting victims in their twenties.

Both recall that it was you who always apologized throughout the relationship.

[Mr. A/23-year-old woman: At first, it was a fight that I started because I was angry and upset, but in the end it was a bit difficult to say,'No, I did it wrong.']

I also received a lot of messages like, "I'm thinking of you." .

[Mr. B/22-year-old woman:'It's because of you, so why are you always so sensitive?'

I always think that was the habit of speaking (ex-boyfriend's).]

Increasingly, I began to think that I was wrong.

I heard advice from people around me, but I didn't know it was gas lighting at the time.

[Mr. B/22-year-old woman: I kept saying it wouldn't be (gas lighting). Oh, no way... … .]

[Mr. A/23-year-old woman: (Friends) said,'I'm trying to do this trick to you, it's gas lighting'... … .]

'Gas lighting' is an expression inspired by the movie'Gas Lamp' by US psychotherapist Robin Stern.

In this movie, the male protagonist darkens the gas lamp in the house, and then makes himself suspicious of his wife, who is said to have darkened the room, by saying,'Why is it not so?', and eventually causes the wife to lose judgment, making her dependent on her husband.

By repeatedly injecting the message "You're a problem", the relationship between the two is changed to a'A' to control the relationship.

[Mr. A/23-year-old woman: Meeting people decreased a lot, and I think I lived in that relationship.]

[Mr. B/22-year-old woman:'Who are you going to meet?','What are you going to wear?', ' Didn't you say I was short last time?' Like this, I said,'Keep taking pictures and send them' to see if I really wore those clothes... … .] As it

is not a visible violence, it is a kind of mental brainwashing, it is not easy for the victim to notice.

[Park Jong Suk/Mental Health Medicine Specialist: The victim doesn't know he's being hurt. 'Gaslighting' itself does not exert a forceful deterrence, and it manipulates people very subtly as if they understand themselves and follow me (perpetrator).] Both

men and women can be victims, and not only in romantic relationships, but also with families. It occurs frequently even in the workplace.

[Woman in her 30s/victim of domestic violence:'Are you a mother?','What did you do to your child?' After the divorce case was over, I came with custody and parental authority, but I asked myself,'Am I always doing well as a mother?' (Consultation…….)]

But is it possible to punish only with gas lighting?

In the UK, mental control, including gaslighting, was revised to see that it could be a crime in itself.

Imprisonment sentences of up to five years are imposed.

By introducing the concept of'coercive control', he saw that it would be a sin to bind freedom psychologically, even in the absence of violence.

For example, I saw that the act of constantly isolating the victim from family and friends, control of daily life, and monitoring of social media accounts can be coercive controls.

[Professor Min Yoon-young/Dankook University Law School:'Which is worse between psychological and physical violence?' Rather, the nature of domestic violence is coercive control. However, one of the many methods that we use to do so is to be physical violence.] In

our society, which sees domestic violence and dating violence as accidental events, that is, insensitive to invisible psychological violence, this coercive control such as gaslighting The punishment for it may not come into contact with the skin yet.

In the UK, the law was revised as a final step after public debate that society accepted the seriousness of gas lighting.

We, too, need to be informed that repeated attempts to control psychology, like gaslighting, can be a crime in itself, and furthermore, it can be transformed into a subtle human rights violation at any time.

(Video coverage: Lee Seung-hwan, Kim Tae-hoon, Seol Min-hwan, Video editing: So Ji-hye, VJ: Kim Cho-ah, author: Kim Yu-mi, Lee Ji-yul, CG: Hong Sung-yong, Choi Jae-young, Lee Ye-jeong, Sung Jae-eun, Jeong Si-won)