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Sexually harassed lawmaker says civic group’s criminal complaint ‘regrettable’

Rep. Jang Hye-young of Justice Party (Yonhap)
Rep. Jang Hye-young of Justice Party (Yonhap)
Rep. Jang Hye-young of minor progressive opposition Justice Party has expressed her “regret” that a civic group filed a criminal complaint against former party leader who had sexually harassed her.

She says recalling the damage again during an unwanted investigation “is a hindrance to her return to daily life.”

Jang’s remarks on her social media comes after conservative civic group Hwalbindan said Tuesday it would file a complaint with the Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office against former Justice Party leader Kim Jong-cheol on charges of sexual harassment. The group said it would also hold a protest in front of the Justice Party after submitting the complaint.

Jang said earlier she would not sue, but sex crimes can be investigated even if they are accused by a third party.

“Solidarity with the victim, approaching from the victim’s point of view and not forcing victimhood is not an abstract concept, but a very specific methodology,” Jang said on her Facebook account Tuesday.

“This is to respect the victim’s intentions first and foremost in raising, solving and closing issues,” she added.

“Despite the fact that I, as the victim, clearly expressed my desire to solve the issue within a community, I am very sorry for the criminal prosecution against the perpetrator, unilaterally ignoring my intentions without any communication with me.”

“The decision not to proceed with the charges through the judicial system is not for the perpetrator, but for myself. Why do I have to recall and explain the damage again through unwanted third-party accusations and deal with the secondary damage that will inevitably accompany the process?”

It’s just another imposition of victimhood to mislead the judicial process as if it were the victim’s duty, she said, adding, “I want to go back to my daily life the way I want to, without being trapped in any victimhood.”

Hong Jung-sik, chief of Hwalbindan, said in the complaint on Tuesday, “As it is not something that will end with resignation and dismissal, the accused should be subject to a strict legal judgment.”

In a commentary on the day, Hong also called for the disbandment of the party blaming the sexual harassment of the head of the Justice Party, which represented the socially disadvantaged and has led the way in protecting human rights and eradicating sexual violence.

The party removed Kim from his post Tuesday, after it was revealed that he had sexually harassed Jang while coming out of the restaurant after the meeting on Jan. 15. Kim admitted to his actions and the party decided not to take further legal action.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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