South Korean Speed Skating Couch Sex Abuse.
Elite world South Korean speed skating.
For a country that is a world leader in speed skating, having won 24 Olympic gold medals, this is a serious development. Other sporting federations say they are also now investigating claims of inappropriate behaviour.
Many see this as South Korea’s movement finally being taken seriously, even if only through the prism of elite sport. They alarm in sex abuse.
In the latest development, five unnamed female skaters have come forward accusing their coaches of sex abuse. One skater alleged that a coach forcibly kissed her and then verbally abused her when she rejected his advances.
The women, represented by a group called Solidarity for Young Skaters (SYS), made their allegations public in a news conference held at South Korea’s parliament about sex abuse, alongside a South Korean lawmaker Sohn Hye-won who has also taken up this cause.
The group said the women chose to remain silence for accusing sex abuse because they fear retaliation from those who support their coaches and the wider skating community.
“They are very much afraid of potential retaliation and possible rejection from the community,” Park Ji-hoon, a lawyer for Solidarity for Young Skaters, told the BBC.
Ms Sohn and the pressure group also called for an investigation into Jun Myung-kyu, the former national team coach and a hugely influential figure in South Korean speed skating, who they accused of concealing misconduct.
Sex Abuse How it began ?
It all started in January 2018 when Olympic short-track speed skating gold-medallist Shim Suk-hee accused her former coach of repeatedly assaulting her since her teenage years.
Last September Cho Jae-beom was convicted of beating and by sex abuse of Ms Shim and other skaters. She said he had been beating her since she was seven – and had even broken her fingers with an ice hockey stick.
He kicked and punched me so hard, especially on my head, that I even thought ‘I could die here'”, she said speaking at a court hearing last year.
Other athletes later came forward and Cho was last September sentenced to 10 months in jail for assaulting Ms Shim and three other skaters.
But in a complaint filed last month, the 21-year-old came out to accuse Cho sex abuse or sexual assault.
She says the sexual assault started in 2014 when she was still a student and continued until shortly before the Pyeongchang Olympic games. His lawyers have denied this allegation. It means a lot of athlete have been suffeer sex abuse.
Her fresh charge of sex abuse led almost 250,000 in South Korea to sign a petition demanding a longer jail term for him.