South Korea has thrown out a law dating back to 1953, banning men from falsely promising marriage in return for sex. The penalty for breaking this law consisted of two years in prison and a fine of more than £2,000 (about $4,000 US dollars).
According to the court, the law didn’t truly reflect modern trends and contradicted the government’s “constitutional obligation to aim for the equality of men and women”. The nine-member court ruled in a 6-3 verdict that the archaic law was an infringement on the dignity of women.
“The government should refrain from interfering in men’s sexual activities of tempting women…,” states the final verdict.
The banning of the law came on the wings of appeals made by two men who had recently been reprimanded. With the ban comes not only the automatic acquittal of all men formerly penalized under the law but also the possibility of state compensation.
A major women’s rights group in Seoul, Korean Womenlink, told the press that it welcomed the court’s verdict. The statement read in part:
“It had not been a law that protected women’s human rights but a law that protected women’s chastity.”
South Korea remains deeply conservative in thinking, greatly influenced by the teachings of Confucius. Despite decades of exposure to Western thought, old habits really do die hard as the old saying goes. The courts are the most conventional of all, as last year South Korea’s Constitutional Court upheld an archaic law against adultery even after many complaints that the statute is antiquated and constitutes an invasion of privacy. Prison sentences of up to two years are enforced for those convicted under this anti-adultery law.
It would seem that South Korea has a lot of catching up to do as far as facing the changing sexual trends in the world today.
Will they get there?
Who can say, but one thing seems certain:
The roles and mores of men and women everywhere are constantly “under construction.” Therefore, everyone everywhere need be mindful of “falling debris” of all kinds.