• Gaya_SB

    Great article, Dana, thanks for writing it!

    The age of consent in my state (VIC) is 16, but 13 sounds really young to me…

  • UncleFan

    Great article, but I’m still not convinced IU had sex with that guy. I do understand why people jump to that conclusion, if for no other reason than it’s just so funny given her (previous) image. Hopefully IU will move forward with her new “sly fox” image… I would hate to lose her as an artist and performer.

    • http://twitter.com/M_Wys Michaela Wylie

      I wouldn’t necessarily say that they had sex…but I don’t see how you could argue that something didn’t happen.

  • kmoo4986

    13 is the age of consent?? Shit-cock-balls that’s young!

    Anywho, good article- very informative

    • Whirly Pop

      yeah and apparently if you raped a kid, you’d just serve 1 to 3 years in prison for that in Korea

      • http://twitter.com/M_Wys Michaela Wylie

        Only 1 to 3? :/

        • Whirly Pop

          Not all, but SK does have light jail terms for sexual assault cases from what I read. Have you read the Nayoung case? Where there was an 8 year old girl raped by a 57 year old man in a public toilet. It was so graphic. She was so severely injured, her innards were falling out of her body and the man in an attempt to fix things, pushed her intestines back in using a mop. And his punishment for all of this was just 12 years in jail. The girl would just be 20 years old when he gets released and I would be so scared if I was her.

  • http://twitter.com/silverukiss Silver

    Holy Crap the age of consent is 13?!!! I grew up with the age of consent being 18, as in they have to be an adult in order to have sex with another adult. And I know of several teachers that went to jail for breaking it and having sex with a 17 year old or younger. Anything younger than 18 sounds way, way too young to me to be having sex with adults. Teenagers are some of the most emotionally distraught people I have ever met, and personally I think they are in no condition to be deciding whether it’s alright to be doing an adult.

    I guess that makes more sense that the idol bands market their youth in such a sexual, look at how attractive I am way then. Since technically it wouldn’t be illegal if all those adult fans were to have consensual sex with one of the kids… that is so, so wrong. Especially since it can be hard to prove whether it was consensual or not.

    OMG, I just realized that’s why that open world entertainment despicable jerk didn’t get more years in prison. Because they couldn’t prove that a lot of those cases were rape, or something about the statue of limitations running out, so if it was consensual sex even if the trainees were minors, that would still be legal?!

  • http://twitter.com/___djb___ dbullock

    Good explanation. My theory for some of our misconception is the way contact with the opposite sex is handled in these Kdramas we’re addicted to.

    Just about every one of them portrays that “first” kiss planted on the recipient as an unexpected stiff-body-eyes-wide-arms-pinned-to-your-side experience whether its a story about adolescent teens or middle-aged adults battling their biological clocks to find the perfect mate.

    I think it generates a lot of the confusion because for most if a hunky guy or hot chick started zoning in on one of us we’d be all over that!


  • http://twitter.com/M_Wys Michaela Wylie

    Age of consent is 13?

    …Does that mean Zelo is fair game?


    • GracefulCassieShapley

      Hey, I called Zelo first! xD 

  • haiitsvi

    A lot of things about Korea and Korean culture seems ironic to me lol!

    Thanks for clearing up a lot of misconceptions.

    I see this sort of parallel between the socially conservative Korean culture and the conservative Christian culture here in the US. And it’s all a paradox for me! With a little Googling, one can see that some of the most conservative states in the US also have some of the highest teenage pregnancy rates. And that’s because the education isn’t sufficient! And because these conservative folk in the legislation don’t think it’s necessary, but it is. Now also with a little Googling, I see that SK has the lowest teen pregnancy rate but that doesn’t mean teenage sex doesn’t happen. This could be attributed to the fact that it is harder for young adults to get the privacy and opportunity like the article mentions.

    Maybe I’m just using this article and post as a place to put these thoughts that have been going on in my head lately. Why is it that people who oppose abortion also oppose contraceptives? No, no, no. If you don’t want people to get pregnant let them use contraceptives. This just makes no sense to me.

    But I’m digressing. All in all, South Korea definitely needs a sex education reform.

    • http://twitter.com/silverukiss Silver

       now I wouldn’t generalize there. I don’t like abortion except in extreme cases, but I’m all for contraceptives.

      • haiitsvi

        I guess I wasn’t clear. I was referring to extreme conservatives. And I agree with you actually. I personally don’t like abortion but I believe that the government can’t tell a woman what she can or cannot do with her body.

        • http://twitter.com/M_Wys Michaela Wylie

          Abortion is actually a government problem. And indirection, the government will decide if a woman can have abortion by either legalizing it or not.

          • haiitsvi

            Well sure, we make it a government problem because it’s entangled in politics. So in that case, I’m pro-choice.

          • haiitsvi

            Well sure, we make it a government problem because it’s entangled in politics. So in that case, I’m pro-choice.

    • CJux

      Korea is called Abortion Republic for a reason, even though it’s illegal.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UKVFJRHSGI6S4GAWPAACC6Q3CI heartzeal*

    I somehow find it ironic that in a country where age of consent is only 13, that there is no valid forum for open discussion about safe sex practices.

  • wickfan

    There is also a thriving red light district in Korea.
    Short Story:
    I remember going to a hotel in Korea because it was so cheap, and my friend and I just wanted a place to crash for the night. Since we were both girls we receive the strangest stares ever. Once I walked into my room I was shock  the bed was shape as a heart. That was when we realized we were  staying at a love hotel.

  • http://dvqd92.tumblr.com/ Elizabeth

    great article Dana :) i definitely did miss korean culture through k-pop series i wonder if your continuing in the future. i know korean society & culture do get criticized for it’s conservativism, and ignorant by international fans and we have to understand why by learning about the korea’s society & culture before any more misunderstanding even if there is some kind of truth to it. I did enjoyed learning about sex in South Korean society & culture & media after reading this to give me some food for thoughts and the logo of the store Condomania is cute probably just me though

  • Black_Plague

    Who wants to bet that whoever pushed for the age of consent to be 13 is a pedophile?  

    Sigh, my country has so much to be embarrassed about. 13 is just fucking sick and ridiculous. Simple as that, nothing more to say. Someone has to protest about the age of consent there ASAP and the ones that argue against it are clearly out of their heads.

    This may as well be one of the reasons why sexual abuse in the showbizz – including trainees – is such a severe issue that needs some serious and merciless tackling.

  • animefreakhq

    WTF 13!!!! 
    No wonder asia is known for pedophile.

  • taequila777

    In other countries and cultures, the age of consent is around the same as SK, so I’m not that surprised. I do agree that 13 is a bit young, but is that for both sexes or just females, since females mature faster than males? I find it rather ironic b/c although I would be considered a “foreigner” for my Western thinking, I always viewed  Asian cultures as more conservative than most other countries, in particular the United States of America.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karheng279 Aaron Ho

    I am just curious as to why the Korean government sees 13 as an appropriate age of consent?!?! It’s just the starting of puberty !?  Where’s the logic???!??

  • yuki kokoro

    To everyone that freaks out with the age of consent of 13. You need to put it in perspective. First, it’s because historically, age of consent were low and a government usually just puts it higher. I don’t know at all, but the idea that the SK gov. “lowered” it to 13 is unlikely. For example, the age of consent in my country past from 14 to 16 in 2006 and from 12 to 14 in 1890.

    Also, the higher the age of consent is, not necessarily better the society is. A society that puts a 17 year old to jail because he had consensual sex with a 17 years old is sick in my opinion. (and sicker than ones that have an age of consent of 13).

    (By the way, the age of consent is 13 in Spain)


  • CJux

    Age of consent =/= legal sex with adults. 

    In Korea, an adult having sex with a minor (under 19 I suppose) can still be charged of sexual assault of a minor (statutory rape?). The age of consent only draws a line between an act of pedophilia and an act of having sex with a minor, which is also illegal.

    It’s not just Asian countries that have laws like these. Many countries in South America also have low legal age of consent, but still a lot of restrictions that ban sex with minors. That means, sexual acts between minors (between 13-15 years old and under 18 years old, depending on the legislation) are not punishable by law – though in some situations, the parents can still file a charge of “seduction of minors” if they feel the 17 year old coerced their young daughter/son into sex. But it’s definitely illegal for adults to have sex with a minor.

    I know this will probably shock some people, but can I actually I agree with a low age of consent, although I would raise de limit to 14 years old. But only in if: a) the government offers an efficient sex education program, implemented before you reach the age of consent; b) legislation includes sex with minors prevention laws; c) “seduction of minors” is also contemplated under the law.

    Of course, I’m basing this on my experience. Most of the people I know lost their virginity when they were between 14-17 years old, and it doesn’t make sense to me why in some countries a 17 year old can be charged of pedophilia for having sex with a 14 year old. That’s just my opinion. 

    P.S. – Great article Dana. Thanks for the information you researched.

    • yuki kokoro

      “The age of consent only draws a line between an act of pedophilia and an act of having sex with a minor, which is also illegal”

      I never heard of that before, can you point me to where your sources are? Or maybe the name of a country whose laws are like that? I always thought that age of consent was directly linked with statutory rape.

      Here is the best I could find about SK: http://thegrandnarrative.com/2010/01/11/south-korea-age-of-consent/

      • CJux

        Yes, I also think the term “statutory rape”  is confusing. Hence I put it under parenthesis with an interrogation mark, but I noticed that term appearing in some SK-related articles about sex crimes when the victim is over 13 years old. An example: http://www.koreabang.com/2012/stories/kakao-talk-used-as-evidence-in-rape-case.html

        I do think the most appropriate term for this is “sex with minors” or “sexual assault of minors”, not “statutory rape”.  But theoretically, an adult having with an under 19 year old is always illegal, the severity of the sentence might however depend on the age of the victim…? Sex with anyone below the age of consent is generally punished under pedophilia laws, while sex with anyone below the legal adult age is punished under minor protection laws. But this is however depends greatly on the legislation and age of consent definition of each country. I unfortunately have little knowledge on SK laws.

        • yuki kokoro

          I understand what you mean but you talked about South American countries, which ones?

          About the article, they seem to be debating if it was consensual or not. If sex with a 16 yo was illegal they would only debating if they had sex or not, no?

          • CJux

            No, there’s a difference between minor protection laws and pedophilia laws.

            Pedophilia is a crime where the victim can never consent in any circumstance.

            Sex with minor is a crime where the victim can technically consent, but was tricked into have sex with an adult via seduction, coercion or manipulation.

            Being illegal to have sex with minors in fact means that’s “illegal to actively pursue sex with minors”. If you read the article you noticed that is not about whether she consented or not, but about who made the first move/who seduced the other. If the guy is found guilty of seducing a minor into have sex, he’s going to jail. However if he can prove that she was the one who seduced him or tricked him, nothing will happen to him. Though it’s difficult to prove that you were seduced by a minor, hence the accused is also using the excuse “I didn’t know she was minor”.

            But technically, it’s not illegal to ‘give into sex’ with a minor who’s trying to seduce you (except in cases of prostitution, that’s always illegal), providing that you can prove it in court, of course.

            I exemplified South America because there are countries with low legal age of consent (13 or 14) and yet have minor protection laws for under 16 or 18 years old, namely: Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador and Uruguay. Colombia bans minor sex based on “deceit” (whatever that is). Some of these cases however are gender-specified, such as the age of consent.

          • CJux

            Update: I’m sorry, apparently I was being misinformed about this: In SK there is no strict law to prevent sex with minors via seduction, only in cases where it’s proved the minor was forced or paid for sex. I was under that impression because of this movie which is supposedly based on real facts: http://www.asianmovieweb.com/en/reviews/green_chair.htm

            However if that was the case, than things like this wouldn’t happen: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2009/07/113_47771.html

            So no, it doesn’t seem that SK has really any minor protection laws regarding seduction and/or coercion of minors. If they have, then they aren’t being applied then.

  • http://www.m-rated.tumblr.com/ Michelle Chin

    I actually had to double check the age of consent three times to make sure I’m seeing the right thing: 13… REALLY?  

    And all this while I thought the age of consent is probably 21 because each time I go to Korean websites, it states that you can only purchase things when you’re 21 above. Or maybe I’m wrong. Haha. 

    But 13… damn. I don’t think most people would actually be teenagers by that time yet. I know I wasn’t because puberty didn’t arrive until 15.

    Anyway, I think for most people, Korea gives off this image of conservatism and rigid Confucianism because of the customs tied to it and the seemingly cold attitude towards talking about sex openly in schools etc, and of course, strange MOGEF rules. Thus, the misunderstanding and excessive stereotyping. 

    In regards to the Pill, some people think that taking it gives you an image that you’re loose. Again, another stereotype. People just don’t understand that apart from preventing unwanted pregnancies, the pill can help with other things as well. The lack of education is seriously tied to all this stereotyping directed at the Pill. I guess this also contributes to the opposition towards the Pill. 

    I remember reading an article somewhere that abortion is opposed not only by law in South Korea but it’s framed as a moral issue as well. Apparently, governments issue out booklets about how mothers who go through abortions are usually single moms and have loose morals.  It makes me wonder if the person who wrote such stuff is the person who stated that the age of consent should be 13…

  • yuki kokoro

    By the way, I don’t know if it’s true, but according to Wikipedia, that age of consent of 13 is only applicable for females. And apparently a male can’t be the victim of neither rape nor statutory rape. I really hope it’s false.

    Seriously, THAT is freaking me out.

    • http://twitter.com/SrilathaR Srilatha Rajamani

      Agreed. Even here in the United States, males are at a disadvantage when it comes to rape and domestic violence. My friend’s brother was physically abused by his wife. He had no community support, no one in whom he could confide. He went through years of hell because of this. Even though the here tries to not discriminate between the sexes when it comes to these issues, societal perceptions are such that it is very hard for the victims to get the courage to come out against their abusers.

  • http://twitter.com/SrilathaR Srilatha Rajamani

    I actually found the indignation of some of the readers here to be funny and a tad innocent. News flash: 13 year olds do it. They do it in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia. Having the minimal age of consent as 13 does not automatically mark the country as pedophilia heaven – I personally found that comment from someone one below (Asia being known for pedophile) to be very offensive and ignorant. Since I do not know anything about Korean laws regarding consent, sex with minors, and rape, I would not presume to comment on the country based on minimal facts.

    Regardless of age of consent or even consent, abuse happens when there is unequal balance of power. This is the part that needs to be discussed and addressed.

    • http://twitter.com/M_Wys Michaela Wylie

      While I agree with your comment, I still think it’s disgusting that some 13 years old have sex, and I would definitely argue it’s a minority. 

    • http://twitter.com/silverukiss Silver

       Hmm, I’ve realized that I may have confused the definition of age of consent. When I grew up, it meant the age at which it is legal to have sex with another adult, which in my country it is largely illegal for minors to do so, consensual or not. But now I’m thinking that may have been a widespread misuse of the term.

      I am fully aware that 13 and 14 year olds have sex, and while I may not agree with it, it’s not illegal as long as it is with other minors.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Chris.B.Ashawe CallmeChris Christina Bunmi

        Yeah, thats how I saw it too. Where I’m from age of consent is the age where you can have sex with anyone who is also over the age of consent. So a 16 year old girl can have sex with a 50 year old man as long as she gave him her consent. I’m sure its the same in Korea? So I still believe 13 being the age of consent is pretty awful as it doesn’t protect youngsters. Theres a reason why 16 or 18 is considered a right age to choose to have sex; many young people at that age are almost finishing puberty, entering college and are mentally mature to decide whether or not they are ready. Yes, 13 year olds are having sex, but thats down to the media and our society. But imagine the age of consent being 13 in Europe and America?? Children as young as 8 would start having sex! Sounds crazy but its true. 13 is too young. Korea is just lucky that young people (13-18) over there aren’t as sexually active as the young people in the western world or else that age of consent would be truly TRAGIC.

  • BeiSandy

    .. The movie Frozen Flower really shocked me with those sex scenes…

  • BeiSandy

    .. The movie Frozen Flower really shocked me with those sex scenes…