By now you’ve probably seen the news about Kang Ji-hwan being brought in on charges of sexual assault and no doubt this just makes you about as sick as it does me.
Our mutual disillusionment
The report is that he and two women returned to his home after a company event and continued to drink, whereupon the two women stayed the night at his house and later found their fellow intoxicant and host assaulting them as they slept. The women called a friend (not the police – why, were they concerned that the police would do nothing or were they looking for some other sort of advice/help?) who informed the authorities. He was still considered intoxicated when the police showed up. So drunk that he claimed to have no recollection of the evening’s events.
Things like this never look good for anyone involved, especially the accused, but also the accusers. And there’s plenty of shame to go around.
I’m not going to excuse Kang Ji-hwan for any misbehaviors; he needs to take his punishments as he ought. Excessive alcohol consumption at company events needs to be seen as the detrimental behavior that it is; it leads to any number of social and physical ills, such as alcoholism, liver damage, cancers, and impairment leads to poor judgment and decision-making liabilities too, drunk driving, sexual assault, loss of control, fights, even regretted choices (like sex when drunk), and many other damaging events. The causal effects of alcohol are both immediate and long-ranging (such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome).
As for “Miss A” and “Miss B,” they need to examine their choices too. I can understand the risk scenario; he’s a very handsome, desirable man and the prospect of spending time in his company so intimately could be very enticing. It seems that they went willingly to his house, but really, could they be that naive? Is it possible that they went to his home because they were not attracted to him or his fame? Of course, it’s always possible… Do women (and men) have the right to expect that they will not be sexually harassed or assaulted? Of course, but it’s also important to practice common sense by not exposing yourself to situations where something can go wrong. Why go to his house? Why continue to drink? Why not call for a ride home? The finger of blame and shame will point their way too; were they looking for some attention, e.g., social promotions, career advancement, or even physical/sexual relationships with him? Those are all valid questions in light of their poor decision-making, even if their intent was simply to continue a fun evening and light-hearted partying, with no thought to benefit or gain.
While they culture of “Drink ’til you drop” in South Korea (especially at mandatory company events) is certainly a key component in what transpired, there is another component that needs to be addressed: the puritanical mores that are imposed upon celebrities. The commandments are:
- “You shalt not look with romantic and/or sexual intent upon another person,”
- “You shalt not form romantic and/or sexual relationships with another person,”
- “You shalt not flaunt any romantic and/or sexual relationship with another person,” and
- “You shalt not have a marital relationship and/or committed sexual congress with another person.”
These are unrealistic and unhealthy. Fans that demand this level of sacrifice are not fans, they are deluded obsessive types who should not be encouraged. When an actor/actress/singer states that s/he lives for her/his fans alone and “doesn’t have time to date” they are sending an unhealthy message and I implore my fellow true fans to celebrate happy relationships a celebrity pursues.
It’s sad when a relationship doesn’t work out. Song/Song couple, it’s a shame, but divorce happens to the best and most optimistic of us, but life goes on and we can learn from those unhappy mistakes and grow. It’s not a reason to clamor for a sponsor to drop someone from commercial work; it’s just a sign that people are imperfect and the things you like about that person (s/he acts/sings beautifully, etc.) are still the same. Yes, if someone commits a serious crime, proven in a court of law, then it’s time to acknowledge that s/he is a flawed individual and make your own personal choice to step away from being a fan of that person, or equally to hope that s/he can pay for the crime and make amends and grow up (as in the case of drug misdemeanors).
This rant is over for now, but let’s hope that the discussion continues, as does an awareness of what’s needed to avoid circumstances that lead to dangerous choices, that can leave people vulnerable to predators, and to learn how to make more intelligent and responsible decisions.