Time’s Up


With all the women standing up for gender equality and supporting each other in every field, the #MeToo and TIME’S UP movements have brought changes to women`s lives in many parts of the world. Women who have once gone through sexual discrimination and harassment can finally speak up for themselves. People have started to change sex discrimination and inequality in every field.

Starting in the U.S., #MeToo and TIME’S UP have been echoed in other parts of the world. At the beginning of March, a series of reports of sexual harassment and assault were covered by the Korean press. A female prosecutor claimed she was sexual assaulted by a senior official from the judicial department eight years ago in a TV interview. Shortly after, the fire swept many areas, from the film industry to sports.

The movements not only have influenced Korea but also India. In India, there are people invoking the government to include sexual assault in marriage as a crime in laws as well.

What kept these women from telling their stories until now?

The male-oriented social environment must have something to do with women’s silence. For a long time, women have been living under deeply rooted gender inequality. Many of us are used to remaining silent when we encountered discrimination and harm from men. The social justice system is not complete and cannot protect women who have been suffering from their painful experience. What is more, the public tends to put pressure on the victims from sexual assault cases. It requires great courage to tell their stories to the public in spite of all the critical views.

However, this long-term problem cannot only be simply attributed to gender equality, it is also a problem of unbalance of power and the ignorance of the powerless people who lost their say in society for a long time.

Now, times have changed.

These movements have improved people’s awareness of sexual assault and harassment. Women are no longer afraid of standing up to the men who once assaulted them. The power and comfort of sisterhood has showed its presence. Women have gained strength and courage from the other victims who speak out and people who support them.

The inequality of gender and sex discrimination is changing, too. About 50% of the world’s population are united to bring vital improvements to the world, which has long been a place full of discrimination and injustice, to make their voices heard, to explain, and to show the world from their points of view.

These movements also give women the courage to say “NO” whenever faced with injustice or discrimination. Women no longer have to remain silent.

However, echoes from some countries like China and Japan are still far and few in between. As a 2004 cabinet survey indicated, only less than five percent of women who say they were victims of sexual violence reported the incident, and the situation has not changed much. Women are chained to norms that attach stigma and shame to speak out with the harsh social environment.

What can we do for these women?

A more caring society and harsher social environment for offenders rather than victims will certainly be of help. Moreover, women shall unite to eliminate sex inequality at last.

Justice will come, after all, and it is better late than never.