North Korea: Sexual Violence, Discrimination and Harassment of Women and Girls Epidemic Across State Institutions and Society
Saturday, March 10, 2018 6:00 PM

A recent report by the Korea Future Initiative documents the extensive sexual violence and harassment experienced by women and girls in North Korea. The report, “Us Too: Sexual Violence Against North Korean Women and Girls”, found that “[s]exual violence is so ingrained in North Korea," the more than forty North Korean women interviewed for the report had to be told what the term “sexual violence” meant, because they thought it was just “normal male behavior.”

The report documents the many human rights abuses perpetrated against women in North Korea, beyond those that affect all North Koreans, including torture, denial of food and commitment to concentration camps. According to witnesses, “[i]n North Korea, a woman’s dream cannot be achieved without being raped or without selling her body,” including in exchange for a house or apartment. Many North Korean women and girls are trafficked to northern China as brides. Additionally, North Korea does not recognize marital rape as a crime; “[i]f the wife refuses, the husband . . . will then beat her. It is not even perceived to be wrong.” The report also revealed that North Korea institutionalizes the rape of young girls under the age of fifteen, including at “detention facilities, schools and Communist groups.” 

Compiled from: Fifield, Anna, North Korean women have plenty of reason to say ‘Me Too’ – but no hope of a reckoning, The Washington Post (March 8, 2018).