In 2015, South Korea released a new sex education guidelines for the public school system. In the updated teacher's manual, "women not paying for their meals on dates" was listed as a catalyst for date rape. The shocking claim blames the victim and perpetuates gender inequality.
It is important to note that that South Korea ranks low on gender equality according to the World Economic Forum. This low ranking might also be a symptom of how sex education is taught in public schools. Besides blaming victims of date rape, the 2015 teachers manual suggests to "step on his foot" as a way to deal with sexual harassment. These statements in the manual makes it clear that public school sex education guidelines are not educating students on how to prevent sexual violence. Instead, these guidelines are geared towards "reinforced gender stereotypes and discrimination and seemed to justify sexual violence."
When NPR reached out to the Education Ministry in South Korea, the request for the teacher's manual was denied. An officer of the Ministry, Min Hye-young noted that "the ministry's good intentions have been misunderstood." It has been two years since the release of the sex education guidelines and nothing has changed since.
Sex education that does not help prevent sexual assault and harassment needs reform. The South Korean sex education guidelines are harmful for public school students because it minimizes and normalizes date rape. More Than Sex-Ed is an organization that is committed to preventing sexual assault and harassment through education. Check out our website for more details at More Than Sex-Ed!