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(online) Women’s rights group protests violence against women

South Korean women’s rights activists are staging simultaneous one-person street demonstrations in major cities on Tuesdays to protest violence toward women.

The campaign by Korea Women’s Hot Line is called “Tuesday of Memories.” It aims to commemorate women killed by lovers or husbands, and banish the physical abuse of women, the group said upon launching the campaign earlier this month.

On Tuesday, activists held signs in 25 locations across the country demanding the following: Complete revision of the domestic violence act, education to prevent violence against women, and revision of the law to prevent stalking.

The rights group said that the government has an “obligation to protect the lives of its people” and stressed that it needs to keep track of the number of women victimized by their partners.

According to Korea Women’s Hot Line’s data, at least 65 women were killed by their husbands or lovers in 2011, and 19 others were victims of attempted murder.

However, the group used news reports to estimate the number of victims, since South Korea does not provide official data on murder by romantic partners. Given that not all murders are covered by media, it speculated that the actual number of victims would be far greater.

The data also said that obsessive one-sided affection was one of the biggest problems, pointing out that during 14 cases, accounting for 22 percent of murders with known motives, victims either “turned down a date” or “demanded a break-up”

The group mentioned a case of a man who attempted to burn a teenage girl to death because she refused to date him, and another case where a 40-something man strangled his girlfriend after she tried to break up with him.

“As presented, extreme stalking can lead to murder if left unmarked by society. But our society still regards stalking lightly as though it is a mere love-quarrel, and laws to punish such crimes are non-existent,” the group said.

The Tuesday of Memories campaign, which kicked off on June 5, will continue throughout the remainder of this year, waging its last protests on December 25.

By Yoon Min-sik