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North Korea: Sexual Violence Against Women by Officials

2018-11-05 00:13
North Korean officials commit sexual abuse against women with little concern for consequences, according to a report from non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) released Oct. 31. “Sexual violence in North Korea is an open, unaddressed, and widely tolerated secret,” said Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch’s executive director. It appears to be so commonplace in North Korea that it has become accepted as part of ordinary life, HRW said in a news release. The abuses are perpetrated by North Korean men in positions of power, such as party officials, police officers, prison guards, and soldiers. “What can we do? They consider us [sex] toys. We are at the mercy of men," Oh Jung-hee, a former trader in her 40s, told HRW. "Sometimes, out of nowhere, you cry at night and don't know why." The report is largely based on the testimonies of 62 North Koreans who have left the country, eight of whom are former officials. Credit: Getty Images, Human Rights Watch/hrw.org