"I only need one night's sleep"

- "I don't want to die," she said, and eventually left.

The public is outraged by the case of an Air Force noncommissioned officer who accused his superior of sexual harassment and conciliation and intimidation continued after reporting to death.

This is not the first case of sexual assault at the military base that has caused a stir, and countermeasures from the military authorities have been suggested each time.

Yet, what is the reason why sexual violence in the military is repeated in similar behavior?

Let's go back to a similar incident that happened eight years ago.

“Why do you make life difficult in the military if we only sleep for one night,” said

Major A, his direct superior, to Captain Oh, who was serving at the headquarters of the 15th Division in Hwacheon, Gangwon-



The harassment continued, such as groping for loosening the belt in front of people and putting his hand into his underwear.

If Capt. Oh did not comply with sexual demands, harsh penalties were returned for being "not compliant".

After working overtime every day and ordering excessive work, he tore up a report and threw it in the face of Captain Oh because he couldn't do it.

And then again sexual demands.

The brutality continued for 10 months.

Captain Oh died in the car.

An hour and a half of sobbing, "I don't want to die" and "I want to live", was recorded in the black box.

That was Captain Oh's last appearance alive.

A 28-year-old woman about to get married.

Captain Oh, who took care of his two younger brothers terribly on behalf of his mother who was battling stomach cancer, threw his life away like that.

He expected a strong military-level punishment, but what he returned was consolation.

At that time, the vice-president called the bereaved family of Captain Oh and said:

"Major A was joking, so please forgive Major A in order to send Captain Oh well."

What is it that makes her go well?

The results of the military court trial were disastrous.

The perpetrator, Major A, was sentenced to probation by the military court of first instance.

At the appeals court, the sentence of two years in prison was finally confirmed as sexual offenses and atrocities were recognized as the cause of death.

This case, which does not look very different from the recent case, is a case of military sexual assault in October 2013.

It's been 8 years since Captain Oh passed away.

How has the military changed?

The military doesn't even know

- why it can't be solved

The issue of sexual violence in the military, what is the problem?

The military doesn't know the answer either.

At the request of the Ministry of National Defense, the Korea Women's Policy Research Institute published a thesis on the introduction of a restrictive reporting system for sexual violence in the military in 2017.

Sergeant Lee, who chose to die after being sexually harassed by a superior in the same unit, reported a sexual assault case to his superior immediately. What the boss said was, "It happens a lot in life." I consulted with the sexual grievance counselor in the unit about 20 times, but the conciliation and secondary assault continued, and the suicidal ideation worsened, so I received counseling from an outside agency. The Air Force Prosecutor's Office, which was initially handed over the case to a public defender, did not investigate the perpetrators even once for two months, and the public defender, a military judge, effectively neglected the victim, even implying an 'extreme choice'. Sergeant Lee moved to another unit in hopes of being transferred to another unit, but the new unit was also branded as a woman who caused problems. In the end, Sergeant Lee organized his life by leaving a video of him turning his back on the world three days after moving out.

Was sexual violence in the military a problem of some 'sensitive' and 'non-compliant'? According to the '2019 Military Sexual Violence Survey' report, 2 out of 10 female soldiers said they had experienced sexual violence. About half of the female soldiers who had been victims of sexual offenses did not report the incident and just kept silent.

The #MeToo movement has taken over the world, but the #MeToo in the military has become more difficult. When complaints about sexual harassment and sexual violence within the unit were raised, the number of female soldiers who thought that they were handled according to a fair procedure was 75.8% in 2012, but decreased to 48.9% in 2019. The issue of sexual violence in the military is regressing.

When asked about their intention to report a sexual assault victim, 47.1% of the respondents answered that they did not discuss, report, or report with the relevant person, nor did they plan to do so.

33.2% answered 'I was worried but gave up on reporting', and 19.6% answered 'I am worried'.

There has always been a solution A

society that changes

only after


An army that doesn't change even if you die

So, what do you need to do now?

Whenever a sexual assault case occurred in the military, the military poured out countermeasures.

Let's take a look at some of the most representative of the numerous countermeasures so far.

There was always a solution.

They made rules and introduced regulations.

In 2018, when an army general was dismissed from his post for sexually harassing a female subordinate, the Ministry of National Defense announced on a grand scale that it would create an organization dedicated to handling sexual violence in the military and supporting victims.

Modeled on the US and French military models, an organization that investigates and supports sexual violence will be in charge, and legal support for victims will be provided by a lawyer in charge of sexual violence, not by a general public defender.

Reporting directly to the Ministry of National Defense rather than the headquarters of each military was intended to prevent poor protection of victims, delays in investigations, and concealment within the unit.

At that time, Ministry of National Defense officials also visited the United States and actively prepared countermeasures, but to no avail.

This is why the Ministry of Defense said:

There had to be a lot of organizational reorganization, so instead, the number of people in the department was increased.

However, many critics point out that the real reason is that if an independent organization is established, it can be freed from the control of the existing investigation organization or commander.

Can the military dig out its own lesions

- command over the judiciary?

When a victim occurs, the public defender who must defend the victim is located within the command system within the military, including a judicial officer. A private lawyer must be appointed, but even that private lawyer is a lawyer appointed by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family with the help of the state. It takes time to apply, and it is unclear whether or not it will.

In the end, it is pointed out that the structure of command over the judicial power should be broken. The current military judicial system, which inevitably reflects the will of the commander, needs to be reformed. The current law stipulates that, in criminal cases, if the perpetrator is a soldier, the Supreme Court takes charge of the final trial, but the first and second trial trials must be conducted by the military court regardless of the victim's intentions. In this case, it has been pointed out that 'military paternalism', in which a general officer becomes a judge and participates in the trial, or a front-line commander reduces the sentence, affects the trial. In addition, when the military prosecution requests an arrest warrant, it is required to obtain the approval of the unit commander, which has led to criticism that the commander of the front-line unit can exercise undue influence on the trial.

The question 'Why do we need a military court in peacetime rather than wartime?' is also raised. The basis for establishing a military court is the Constitution. Article 110 of the Constitution stipulates that 'a military court may be established as a special court to have jurisdiction over military trials'. Military courts have their roots in the Military Court Council, which was in charge of military trials during the US military administration. The name 'Military Court' was coined during the 9th Constitutional Amendment in 1987. The basis for the opinion that a military court is necessary is the need for a speedy trial in consideration of the domestic security situation in the confrontation with North Korea and the peculiarities of the military.

However, if you look at the current military court cases, there are statistics that only 8% of military crimes and 92% of general criminal crimes committed by soldiers.

A key problem with military courts is that they are under the executive branch.

Investigation and trial can be swayed by the commander's intentions, so it is a structure that is difficult to prevent if it is decided to cover it up for the protection of internal secrets or 'organizational protection'.

Due to this military justice system, the military becomes a sanctuary cut off from society.

Preventing human rights violations becomes more difficult.

Few countries in the world maintain military courts in peacetime.

France, Japan, Taiwan, Turkey, etc. do not operate military courts, and in Germany and the Netherlands, non-military crimes, such as sexual crimes by soldiers, are tried by civilian courts.

The U.S. moves toward limiting the power of commanders to prosecute

The issue of sexual violence in the military is not unique to Korea.

In January, US President Joe Biden ordered the creation of measures to combat sexual violence in the military.

An independent review committee made a recommendation to separate the military's authority to prosecute sexual crimes from the commander, and the military's highest command decided to accept it.

In the end, it is only a matter of crossing the threshold of Parliament.

The US military is recognized by everyone as the world's strongest fighting force, and it is an army that is engaged in actual battles all over the world even at this time.

Even in such a US military, the system is changing to limit the commander's influence on criminal cases within the unit and to deal with the case from an outside civilian's point of view.

In Korea, too, institutional reforms are being attempted to remove the investigation and trial of the crimes of peacetime soldiers from the commander's sphere of influence. It is difficult for a commander to resist the temptation to reduce or cover up events that occur in his units because they can have a huge impact on his promotion level.

In July of last year, the Ministry of National Defense submitted to the National Assembly a bill to amend the Military Court Act, including the abolition of the General Prosecutor's Office for general command units, the establishment of a prosecution team under the Ministry of Defense and the chief of staff of each military, and the repeal of the right to request an arrest warrant held by the deputy commander. There was always a way. The problem is practice.

(Composition: Senior Correspondent Lee Hyun-sik, Reporter Jang Seon-i, Kim Hwi-ran Editor / Designer: Myung Ha-eun, Lee Ji-soo)