North Korea: New Report on Sexual Violence against Women by State Officials
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 11:45 AM

A new report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW) reveals that North Korean officials commonly commit sexual violence against women in the workplace and women in detention. Men in a position of power often select a woman who has no viable options other than submitting to their demands. Officials then rape and commit other acts of sexual violence to women with little concern for the consequences for their actions. Unwanted sexual contact and violence is so normalized and common in North Korea that it is seen as a part of life for women. 

Due to the fear of retaliation or social disgrace within the family or community, North Korean women rarely report the abuse. One woman told HRW, “I was ashamed and scared...I never told anybody. In North Korea, [reporting rape and sexual assault] is like spitting in your own face. Everybody would have blamed me.”


Compiled from: North Korea: Sexual Violence Against Women by Officials, Human Rights Watch (October 31, 2018); "You Cry at Night but You Don't Know Why": Sexual Violence against Women in North Korea, Human Rights Watch (2018).