The student council at the College of Social Sciences of Seoul National University recently revised its “anti-sexual violence regulation,” which had recently come under fire for being ambiguous about the definition of a sexual offense, local news outlets here reported Monday.
According to the new regulation, sexual violence is now defined as an “a sexual action or utterance done without the consent of the other person, which harms their human dignity.” The old regulation had stated it simply as “an action based on sex or sexual difference.”
The revised rule also takes into account the situation in which the alleged offense takes place to determine whether there really is an act of violence, whereas the older one primarily focused on what the complainant said.
The regulation became a topic of scrutiny in March 2011, when a 21-year-old female student accused a male student of sexually harassing her by smoking. According to the alleged victim, the male student, 21, “showed off his masculinity” by continuously smoking in front of her and infringed her right to speak up.
This case triggered a furious debate among SNU students about what can be regarded as sexual violence.
Amid the finger-pointing that followed, then-president of the college student council quit her post after she was accused of a “secondary attack” by the supposed victim. The former council president had said the incident could hardly be described as sexual violence.