No men allowed: Seoul subway's new plan to thwart perverts

No men allowed: Seoul subway's new plan to thwart perverts

As Seoul subway molestations soar, female-only safety zone catches flak from male passengers and women's groups
Safety zone in Seoul subway
According to the Seoul subway police unit, cases of sexual violence increased 22 percent from last year, while reports of theft decreased by 35 percent.

Women who have been groped or had a cell phone pointed up their skirt on the Seoul subway may want to sound off at the city government. 

Seoul City announced plans last week to turn the last car on the No.2 line into a women-only compartment, with the commendable intentions of protecting women from sexual predators. However, the City's plans have drawn flak from both men and women's groups, who say that the scheme is weak and ineffective. 

“I don’t think gender segregation is the right direction to solve sexual harassment problems," Lee Eun-sang, director of the Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center told The Korea Times. "It indicates sexual harassment can be prevented only when men and women are in separate spaces." 

The JoongAng Daily reported that men are none too happy about the concept either. “I feel bitter because the plan makes it seem as if all of the men are potential sexual offenders,” said Kim Jeong-min, a male worker. 

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon supported the idea after reading business reports from Seoul Metro (which runs four lines) and Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corp. (which is responsible for three lines) that included increasing reports of sexual molestation. 

The subway police unit said that cases of sexual violence increased 22 percent from last year, while reports of theft decreased by 35 percent.

The pilot operations of the trains incorporating female-only cars will run in September, and the government will make the final decision after gathering more public opinion. 

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