Tens of thousands of South Korean women filled the streets of Seoul in SouthKorea on August 4 to protest an epidemic of secretly filmed videos that show women at work, on trains and in changing rooms and bathrooms. This crime is so prevalent it makes headlines in South Korean media on a daily basis. Offenders have included school teachers, professors, doctors, church pastors, government officials, police officers and even a court judge.
In some cases, the victims’ own boyfriends or relatives were responsible for the crimes, in a troubling reflection of South Korea’s deep-rooted patriarchal norms.
Spy-cam crimes have occurred since at least 2010, AFP reported, not long after smartphones became widespread. And the number of crimes has climbed significantly since. In 2010, 1,100 spycam crimes were reported to police, AFP said. Seven years later, the number was up to 6,500
“Entering a public bathroom is such an unnerving experience these days,” 21-year-old student Claire Lee told Agence France-Presse (AFP). “You never know if there’s a spy-cam lens hidden inside.filming you while you pee.” The protesters urged the South Korean government to introduce laws to stop voyeurs using spy cameras to capture graphic images of women.
The Associated Press reported that “South Korea has struggled over the years to deal with perpetrators who use tiny cameras or smartphones to film under women’s clothing to see their genitalia or underwear. The footage is heavily circulated on illicit porn sites, such as Soranet, which had more than a million users before police managed to shut it down in 2016.”