When is a spade a spade?

A man, who explicitly says he has hated women as he felt that they were belittling him, prepared a knife in advance, hid for an hour in a toilet in a building in the brightest and busiest district of Seoul, waited six men out until a woman came in, and killed that random woman.

Now, the police, several politicians, major newspapers, and self-appointed pundits are all weighing in and sharing their wisdom that this is not a case of misogyny. It is just an isolated incident committed by one insane individual, they say. It is not that black-and-white, they say. Misogyny is not a constructive frame for approaching the matter, they say. Such generalisation is unfair and insulting for many good men out there, they say. Those man-hating, always-making-a-mountain-out-of-a-molehill Megalians are driving the discussion that way, so they conclude. Some (and god I hope these are a minority) even say, non-anonymously, that they sympathise with the suspect. They also had the time and energy to mock and physically sabotage the site of tributes that strangers voluntarily set up for the victim near the crime scene.

In the meantime, women are pouring their hearts out on Twitter, sharing their own fears and experiences of violence. They are now calling themselves “accidental survivors” (through hashtags such as #살女주세요_살아男았다) because it could have been them and it could be them. Some are even laughing bitterly and telling themselves that one should thank one’s lucky star for falling victim only to voyeur filming if one ever uses a loo outside home.

I honestly don’t know what it will take for Korean society to acknowledge the existence of femicide – or if ever.


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