South Korean legislation would make online sexual harassment a criminal offense

    
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According to a recent report from PCGamesN, South Korean legislators are considering a bill that would make sexual harassment in online games a crime punishable by law. The bill, which was introduced by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family’s Kim Su, seems to aim to amend a previously passed piece of legislation that defined the legal repercussions for sexual harassment in the workplace. The original article, from South Korean news site Naver, specifically highlights Blizzard’s popular team-based FPS Overwatch as a game in which sexual harassment is “rampant.”

This move from the South Korean government comes at a particularly salient time, as gaming studios and players alike continue to contend with toxic cultures and communities, as in the case of the ongoing scandal over gender-based discrimination and harassment at Riot Games. Although it’s currently unclear whether South Korea’s proposed bill will pass, and if it does, what the public’s reaction will be, it’s certainly interesting to see a national government stepping into one of gaming culture’s most hotly contested warzones.

Source: PCGamesN. Cheers, Schmidt!
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Brown Jenkin

Yeah so frankly, its well past time for nations around the world to start taking this crap seriously. One need search no further for justification than the types of repetitive, garbage rhetoric that surfaces every time the subject of punishing sexual harassment comes up.

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Peregrine Falcon

The problem with this is that nowdays almost anything is construed as sexual harrasement. The line keeps moving and what might be ok today might get you metoo’d next year.

Well, just one more reason not to allow women into the guild.

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zyrusticae

Lol, this old throughline never ends, does it?

No, the real problem here is that we’ve finally stopped letting things that are unambiguously sexual harassment go because we’re too afraid of losing our jobs or having HR laugh it off when we point out that, yes, some of these behaviors ARE sexual harassment, and guys like you are too fucking stubborn and obnoxious to ever admit that some of these behaviors you think of as innocuous actually never were OK.

It’s not that “the line keeps moving”, it’s that the line was never properly enforced in the first place, and now that it is being enforced, you just blame the women for “moving the line”. Get over yourself. Adapt. Change with the times. That’s your responsibility. It’s not everyone else’s responsibility to accommodate a dinosaur.

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Peregrine Falcon

The problem with your line of thought zyrusticae is that almost anything nowdays can be construed as sexual harassment, including asking a woman out on a date.
It used to be that if I asked a woman out, a ‘no’ and a slap on the face was the worst that I could expect. Now I might also face the possibility of going to jail!
Really?
You actually think it’s ok to criminalize asking a woman out on a date?
You can’t see even the possibility that this might have an adverse affect on society?

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Utakata

What nonsense. Do you think the law would make illegal to ask someone for a date? Do you know anyone whose been arrested for asking someone for date? The answer is most likely no on both counts. The law will only give clarity what to say and do when asking for a date, so you’ll know where you stand every time you ask as I’ve already mentioned.

…personally though, I don’t think your concerns are valid enough to trump a the option of being harassment free. Just saying.

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Brown Jenkin

What always gets me about these responses is that apparently for some folks being a creep has always been just an expected necessity for getting attention from the opposite sex. Nothing about punishing sexual harassment is going to make it harder for society to function. Full stop.

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Utakata

The thing is by making this law, it can be very well defined to what can be considered sexual harassment or not. As well as court cases can set precedence of where that line is drawn. Thus this will likely dissuade goal post moving as you seem to be complaining about, or creeps living behind the said goal post moving to circumvent current laws. So you should welcome such legislation with open arms…at least then you’ll know where you will stand after the fact.

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NeoWolf

I don’t see this as an issue of over sexualisation in games as some say below (utter nonsense).. you could stick naked ladies in front of people and it still would not justify them sexually harrassing people.

People need to take responsibilities for thier own actions and words and stop trying to blame everything under the sun to justify their bad behaviour. Seeing boobs and bums etc.. did not make someone behave inappropriately that was a choice, and a bad one.

Sexual Harrassment is illegal IRL so why should there be a distinction between online or not? Harrassment is Harrassment.

For far TOO long people have relied on the anonymity of an online existence to protect them from the shi**y things they say and do to other folks online and this is simply saying their are limits to what will be tolerated and is acceptable, reign it in OR else..

Nope, for me I see this as a good thing, good on them.

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Frank White

Oh boy, there’s sooooo many ways this could go wrong. One player commenting on another player’s avatar, “Heh, baby, I like the way those pants fit you,” and the other player just happens to actually be a woman in RL…..

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CMDR ShrunkenQuasar

Well, that’s literally sexual harassment, so, I don’t know, maybe just don’t do that?

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

Why does it matter if it’s a woman IRL? Can a man not be offended about comments made to them?

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Nemui Byakko

Great. One more area of human interaction where they will now resort to the State. More courts, more advocates, more jails, more lawyers – they shouldn’t be lazy, right? Definitely if something becomes punishable by law, life becomes better!
Is there still something I can’t sue you for and call the police??? There shouldn’t be.

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Utakata

…you make it sound like you want to do this everyday with impunity. I am not sure you realize that the lives you affect and destroy with your behavior needs to called into account. As you are are not just free to do anything to anyone you please without their consent. Shall I say, suck it up?

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Sean Barfoot

Hell yeah.

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Toy Clown

It would probably help if they also stopped over-sexualizing the female body in the gaming industry there. Maybe this change might help lead to a little more respect toward women’s / girl’s bodies as they’re portrayed in the industry.

Tizmah
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Tizmah

Is that really the source of the issue? Don’t cultures that have enforced modesty still have this?

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zyrusticae

Indeed, even in cultures where public modesty is enforced, this is still an issue. It is a deeply-rooted cultural issue that has a lot to do with how men are trained to view and accept women.

The thing is, there are a lot of things that contribute to it, and media that sexualizes the hell out of women are a part of the problem. Not THE SOURCE, insofar as such a thing as a “source” can be found for complex cultural problems like this one, but a contributor nonetheless. It’s not just the objectification of women’s bodies, but also the fact that women are frequently shoehorned into roles without agency, and the fact that women are not allowed to be shown having wants and needs of their own, instead frequently having their entire persons depicted as tied down to some male figure.

What we need is for men to be trained to see women as people, not just things to be lusted over. Not as separate entities or entirely different species (and believe me, there are STILL people who think like this even in modern developed countries). The whole reason why so many of us want things like gender-locked clothing to go away is because it contributes to this ridiculous sense that women must always be the “other”, must always be separate from the men, and thus must always be given some kind of special – usually negative – treatment.

It’s a complex topic with a lot to unpack, and frankly, I can go on for days and days about this subject without repeating a single point. Suffice it to say that we still have a long road ahead of us…

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Frank White

I agree. They should also stop allowing players to customize body parts and wear scanty clothing. All characters should be more gender neutral to reflect the times. We shouldn’t be able to tell a character is a woman just by glancing at her body. Also, in real life I think women shouldn’t be allowed to wear low cut-blouses or skirts above the knees, etc.

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zyrusticae

Literally no one is asking for this. Your mockery is unneeded and wasted here.

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Andy McAdams

So even in this, you blame the woman. What a man or woman wears is 100% not the issue here, or ever in sexual harassment. It’s how people respond and react that’s the problem. The key is (gasp!) be respectful, and apologize / move to correct if someone is upset by something you said. Getting angry and blaming them for being too sensitive just makes you an ass.

Really. Just be nice and respectful and this is a non-issue.

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Utakata

While I agree with you to a degree of respect in developing as such – as in, less on the heels, bikini mail and jiggling appendages or more things that are tasteful and plausibly works – that’s really entirely separate issue. As I am not sure you can construe as something sexually harassing over the gear and “assets” the game companies decide to give the toons they develop. And if so, so is the porn industry. So really, just no.

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Utakata

“That’s a weird argument coming from you, Uta.”

Well…I am trying to avoid the pitfall of potentially conflating the two issues. That’s really all. :(

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Robert Mann

Good.

Combined with the real identity efforts they have in place, and the laws not being biased with regard to who can and cannot be the instigator of harassment, this is a good thing.

I can foresee issues still with stolen identities, but that’s a problem that will never go away. We just have to combat that as best possible. This is something the west desperately needs, alongside other things that would never be tolerated outside ‘online’ anonymity or not.

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Schmidt.Capela

Worth noting that the South Korean laws about sexual harassment in the workplace already regulate a pretty extensive range of situations. As far as I could determine:

– There is no gender bias in the law itself. Unwanted repeated advances by a woman are as unlawful as unwanted repeated advances by a man.

– They don’t require the harassed person to be an underling of the harasser, or even that both parties work in the company where the harassment happened. Thus, it already has provisions for harassment where the parties are unrelated, such as a customer harassing an employee or vice-versa, making it easier to apply to online interactions.

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IronSalamander8 .

Good. It’s bad enough with people telling you to uninstall or what have you, this kind of behavior is repugnant and needs to be dealt with harshly. Especially with younger players getting into the hobby. I can’t even imagine how horrible it would be to deal with as someone that isn’t even a teenager yet.