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Korea Women's Hotline

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● Korea Women's Hot Line continues to make a better world.

In 1983, Inform the world about violence against women.

Korea Women's Hot Line opened the first professional hotline for violence against women and started training feminist counselors. Telephone counseling to help victims of domestic violence has expanded into 200 counseling centers nationwide at present.

A survey of wife battering in 1983

The first research on 'wife battering' was conducted by Korea Women's Hot Line in 1983. According to a survey of 708 married women, 42.2 percent of respondants said that they were beaten by their husbands. This shocking fact was disclosed by Korea Women's Hot Line, and the term 'wife battering' was first used in this case.

Feminist Counseling in 1983

Korea Women's Hot Line has continued to develop the methodology and aim of counseling from June 1983. The first educational training for counselors mandatorily included women's studies, counseling theory and discussion classes, so that they could help counselors grow and change themselves. Feminist counseling is an activism that looks towards practice instead of just theory. The research for feminist counseling began with 'Korea Women's Hot Line workshop for Feminist Counseling' in 1988, published the book 'Why Feminist Counseling', and was followed by 'Practice Institute for Feminist Counseling' in 2010 and 'Supervision for Feminist Counseling' in 2012.

In 1984, open lessons for self-defense martial arts for women

In 1983, Korea Women's Hot Line opened women's self-defense lessons and combined them with opportunities to conduct violence prevention activity. The first lesson began in December 1984 with a 10-week program. A physical education professor at Yonsei University developed self-defense martial arts for women, which was later popularized in private physical institute.

Women's Diary, 1986

Young women's meeting, stemming from a 'study group of young women', created the women's diary. It was inspired by Women's diary in Germany. Many people carry this diary not only because it expresses their feminist identity, but also because it offers information about women's issues.

The Shelter, 1987

The first shelter was a single leased room in June, 1987. It began as a converted office on March 14, without a name. People in Korea Women's Hot Line called it 'shimteo' because of its similar pronunciation with 'shelter house' and because of its meaning, 'offering place for rest'. Now, it has been established as a social concept and as a symbol of emergency refuge, a resting place for women in danger.

'Baetle’ Meeting (self-help meeting for victims from domestic violence), 1988

As a follow-up meeting for women who had been in shelter, the name of 'women in danger meeting' was changed to 'Baetle Meeting' after 1988. After official counseling, women gather and help each other to benefit from group counseling

Meeting for Men who wish for a culture of equality, 1995

Male members of Korea Women's Hot Line created a meeting to serve as a bridgehead for raising awareness of men's gender equality. They published a source book 「Men`s Work」, which became a good textbook of women's studies for men.

90 Days of before-and-after childbirth vacation & Child benefit for full-time activists, 1997

For the first time among non-governmental organizations, KWHL adopted 90 days of before-and-after childbirth vacation in January, 1997. The first recipient is Jung Choun-Sook, a former representative of KWHL.

Asia Women's Network, 2009

In 2005, KWHL organized the Asia Women's Network to address the issue of violence against women as an international issue and not just a domestic concern. They emphasized the responsibility to combat domestic violence and the role of the women's rights movement, beyond laws and systems. In the Asia Women's Network Forum of 2009, 'Asia Women Network to eradicate violence against women' was officially launched, with the participation of Mongolia, Philippines, Japan, Cambodia.

● Rights to live as a human being

A case of self-defense against sexual assault, 1988

On September 10, 1988, an ordinary housewife bit off her rapist's tongue in self-defense and received a one-year sentence on a charge of injury. Korea Women's Hot Line inflamed public opinion through a debate on the matter, and provoked a dispute over the meaning of a legitimate self defense. With all these efforts, she was found innocent in the end. This case made into a movie 'Only Because You Are A Woman' and recieved Dae Jong Film Awards.

A case of self-defense against domestic abuse, 1991

On January 1991, a woman killed her abusive husband and Korea Women's Hot Line held a campaign for her. When she was beaten, she was 4 months pregnant and her husband's violence caused her to miscarry and ruptured her stomach. She was sentenced to three years at the first trial, but was able to be put on probation for five years in the second round, due to Korea Women's Hot Line's campaign to save her life. The result of this case was disappointing, given the claim for her acquittal. However, this case was meaningful as the first campaign to define the killing of a domestic abuse perpetrator as an act of self-defense.

Urgent public hearing on human rights of elderly women – I Want to Live the Last Day of My Life with Dignity as a Human Being, 1999

In September 11th, 1998, Seoul Family Court dismissed the divorce suit filed by Ms. Lee, aged 70 at the time. She had filed a divorce suir against her husband for division of all property and alimony. The court dismissed her suit and asked them to ‘maintain happily married years together.’ The justice department denied women’s property rights, the fact that both husband and wife owns marital property, and the lifelong domestic violence that Ms. Lee had suffered throughout her marital life. After appealing to a High Court, Ms. Lee started counseling with KWHL. Korea Women’s Hot line hosted an urgent public hearing, and constantly supported Ms. Lee by monitoring trials and presenting multiple petitions. Finally, Ms Lee won her case at the High Court in August 1999 and at the Supreme Court in September 2000. This case introduced the term ‘December divorce’ for the first time in Korea, and expanded the debate about the human rights and property rights of elderly women.

● Basic Laws – Movement for Legislation

Public hearing for enactment of laws related to sexual violence, 1991

From its foundation, KWHL keenly realized the need to enact laws related to violence against women. After its activists were taken to the police as human-trafficking groups (January 21st, 1991), KWHL hels the ‘public hearing to enact laws related to sexual violence’ in April 18th, 1991 and officially posited the need to enact such laws. Through extremely difficult times of struggle, ‘Act on Special Cases concerning the Punishment, etc. of Sexual Crimes’ passed National Assembly in 1993. The original purpose was to include domestic violence in the Act, but it was excluded and was later enacted as ‘Act on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Protection, etc. of Victims’ in 1997.

Enactment of Act on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Protection, etc. of Victims, 1997

Korea Women’s Hot Line has worked hars to enact or revise women-related laws. Apart from Act on Special Cases concerning the Punishment, etc. of Sexual Crimes, KWHL also participated in the enactment process of ‘Framework Act on Women’s Development’ and ‘Act on the Prevention of Commercial Sex Acts and Protection, etc. of Victims.’ ‘Act on Special Cases concerning the Punishment, etc. of Crimes of Domestic Violence’ and ‘Act on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Protection, etc. of Victims’, which were enacted in 1997, would not have existed without KWHL. These laws changed public awareness about domestic violence from a private matter inside home to a serious societal problem.

Women with monetary power movement, 1999

Originating from the interest in women's property rights during divorce procedures, ‘December divorce’ of elderly women and her property rights, and women's legal rights to gain their own rights of ownership, KWHL started ‘Register for co-ownership of marital property’ movement in 1999. Women with monetary power movement offered a concrete alternative to women’s invisible labor and organized the movement to change the Civil Act and Tax Act. It later led to diverse activities, such as making the documentary ‘A Story about Women and Money’, hosting a contest, and holding an exhibition of women's interviews, 'Her 25 hours, 366 days', and a camp targeting teenaged girls, 'Girls go to magical economic camp.’

● With the future generation

Feminist sex education textbook for youths, 1992

This textbook is the first feminist sex education based on criticism of male-centered textbooks for sex education. It was published by Korea Women's Hot Line in GwangJu in 1992. With the highest emphasis on sexual violence in schools and sex education for youngsters, Korea Women's Hot Line conducted a survey of sexual violence in schools and trained teachers about sex education for students.

Camp for Daughters, 1995

Camp for Daughters is devised to encourage teenaged girls to stay active and strong in a patriarchal and gender-discriminatory society. KWHL organized programs to make teenaged girls have the right gender awareness and ‘My body is mine’ ideology, helping them to live active and independent lives. It later developed into Economy Camp for Teenaged Girls

Development of a Smart Phone Application for Happy Dating, 2011 - 『DATE UP DATE』

Korea Women's Hot Line discovered the seriousness of dating violence through counseling and has taken an interest in dating violence since 2006. In 2011, KWHL developed an application named 'Date Up Date' for smart phones, to prevent dating violence. This applicatiom was designed to appeal to women in their 20s and 30s who are interested in dating and included information and advices for happy dating. It become quite popular, with tens of thousands of downloads in a week.

● Transform daily culture

Film production concerning domestic violence, 1988.

Korea Women's Hot Line created 'Film production special committee for eradication of sexual violence', as a way of exposing the seriousness of domestic violence and of informing the public. The film, directed by Hyeon-seung Yi (aged 30), was produced through much effort and sacrifice of the staff members who sustained themselves by eating bread and milk without payment. Since then, Korea Women's Hot Line has tried to produce an animation 'The Dream of DoHa', and documentaries 'The Story about Money and Women', 'Apron', and 'Meet the Shelter' to communicate women's human rights issues to the public.

Introduction of Gender Violence Eradication Week, 1991

In 1991, the 1st Gender Violence Eradication Week, with 23 countries for 16 days, was organized. Memorial services for victims of sex crimes were held, in accordance with resolutions in Women's Global Leadership Institute's workshop in which women activists from 23 different countries participated. Korea Women's Hot Line conveyed 100,000 signatures to UN through Women's Global Leadership Institute, urging that women's human rights and sexual violence issues be considered as prime concerns of UN. Afterwards,, this period was set as the global campaign week against gender violence and has continued until today.

Film Festival for Women's Rights (FIWOM), 2006

Film Festival for Women's Rights began in 2006 to expose the realities of violence against women that nobody knows about. It has become a popular women's festival providing information about women's human rights issues, showcasing domestic women's rights films for the first time, and organizing additional events to enjoy the festival.

Public Interest Advertisement about Violence Against Women Prevention, 2011

This was the first public interest advertisement about violence against women prevention that included the message that domestic violence is a crime. The advertising copy 'when you are silent, violence does not disappear' was promoted ough various mass media such as cable, online, public offices, and subway. Since then, this public interest advertisement has been published every year.

Everywhere Project, 2012 – Making a ‘moving' community networking model

After the legislation for violence against women and the institutionalization of counseling centers, Korea Women's Hot Line established local community to change system, as well as change of recognition and culture, based on a ware of need for local community. Since 2000, local community were focused on policy and budget monitoring, and grew into a lot of fields including cultural movement, local community festival and discovering woman leader. In 2012 Korea Women's Hot Line developed a model 'moving village without domestic violence' so that victims can ask any help everywhere, laid foundation 'safety village for women' of seoul

● Back in times when such terms were nonexistent

'Gender violence'

When the term ‘gender violence’ was unfamiliar to public, Korea Women’s Hot Line named as 'gender violence' all kinds of violence against women in daily life that result from gender inequalites, such as double structure of gender ethics and commercialization of sex. The public now understands gender violence as its current meaning after KWHL constantly questioned gender violence in society. There is a difference between the usage of terms. While KWHL means 'gender violence', public recognizes the same notion as ‘sexual violence.’/p>

'Wife rape'

While hosting an enactment movement on ‘Act on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Protection, etc. of Victims’ and ‘Act on Special Cases concerning the Punishment, etc. of Sexual Crimes’, Korea Women’s Hot Line strongly insisted that ‘wife rape’ be included in the arena of gender violence. In 2000, KWHL opened a ‘wife rape’ debate and raised questions in society. However, it remained a problem when it was deleted in the process of establishing ‘Act on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Protection, etc. of Victims.’ Only recently did the Supreme Court acknowledge the ‘wife rape.’

'Voluntary Activist'

All counselors were so-called 'volunteers' in 1988, but this term was not appropriate as it considered them as providing services instead of participating in activism. Korea Women's Hot Line named them 'voluntary activists' instead of 'volunteers'

'Dating Violence'

A survey conducted by Korea Women's Hot Line showed that 22.8 percent of domestic violence victims suffered physical abuse in their relationships prior to marriage. To expose the seriousness of different types of violence in relationships, Korea Women's Hot Line began to use the term 'dating violence', which includes sexual, physical, mental, and economic violence.

'Incest' into ‘Rape Within Relationship’

Considering examples from counseling caswa, having a sexual relationship with one's father or brother is definitely sexual abuse, and not a relationship. Korea Women's Hot Line prescribed as 'incest', but the term 'sexual assault of relative' has been used for now.

‘Conflict between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law’ into ‘Conflict in husband’s family’

Korea Women’s Hot Line considers conflict between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law both as an individual problem but as a patriarchal and structural problem. Therefore, KWHL changed the term ‘conflict between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law’ into ‘conflict in husband’s family.‘