Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape, including spousal rape, and domestic violence and provides protection for rape survivors. Rape trials are not open to the public unless the victim consents. Amendments to the Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act stipulate experts will assist in questioning and appear in court as witnesses when rape victims are minors or mentally disabled, and they authorize the use of one-way mirrors, video conferencing, or other practices to protect victims during questioning and at trial. The law permits a charge of rape even if the victim chooses not to press charges and allows prosecutors to investigate complaints of domestic violence even if the victim has not filed a formal complaint.
The law establishes the punishment for rape as a minimum of five years’ imprisonment, and courts usually sentenced individuals convicted of rape to five to 10 years in prison. Courts typically sentenced individuals convicted in domestic violence cases to less than six months in prison.
In one prominent case, a man surnamed Wu was sentenced to 20 years in jail in May for sexually assaulting 10 minors and 12 women. Wu was given an additional jail sentence of 14 years after the prosecutors found there were another 17 victims.
Many victims did not report the crime for fear of social stigmatization, and various nongovernmental organizations (NGO) and academic studies estimated the total number of sexual assaults was seven to 10 times higher than the number reported to police. Some abused women chose not to report incidents to police due to social pressure not to disgrace their families.
The law requires all cities and counties to establish violence prevention and control centers to address domestic and sexual violence, child abuse, and elder abuse.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment (see section 7.d.). In most cases perpetrators were required to attend classes on gender equality and counseling sessions, and when the victims agreed, to apologize to the victims.
Incidents of sexual harassment were reportedly on the rise in public spaces, schools, the legislature, and in the government.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization.
Discrimination: The law provides the same legal status and rights for women and men. Women experienced some discrimination in employment (see section 7.d.).