An army general in South Korea has been arrested for sexually abusing a female subordinate.
The defense ministry said the two-star brigadier general, who has not been named, was relieved of his duties and taken into custody after the junior officer reported him to the authorities, according to Yonhap News Agency.
Ministry spokesperson Boo Seung-chan said that “all legal and institutional support” will be provided to the woman.
He added: “An investigation is underway. We will thoroughly look into the case and take corresponding measures.”
The latest incident comes just months after a female air force officer died by suicide after she was assaulted by a colleague.
The master sergeant, with the surname Lee, was sexually assaulted by a man of the same rank in early March. She reported the case to seniors, who ignored her complaints and tried to cover up the crime, according to a Yonhap report.
On 3 June, the perpetrator – with the surname Jang – was arrested and charged with sexually harassing and injuring the woman in a car while they were on their way back to their base after a dinner with colleagues in the city of Seosan.
The victim had suffered mental distress and transferred to another base at her request two months after the incident, her family said in a petition to President Moon Jae-in over the case.
She was found dead at her home on the base on 22 May. Her family said she killed herself and left a video on her mobile phone of her death.
A month ago, South Korea’s air force chief Lee Seong-yong resigned over Lee’s suicide.
The defence ministry has launched a probe to “find and protect other sexual abuse victims and handed over some 20 cases to investigators,” the report added.
“We’re afraid Lee’s case might be just the tip of an iceberg,” a ministry official told Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
In South Korea, sexual harassment victims often face pressure to stay silent for fear of public shaming, with a large number of perpetrators harassing their female colleagues in the workplace.
“At this rate, it now appears the principal enemy of female soldiers is not North Korea, but male superiors,” one user posted on Naver, the country’s largest portal.
A female navy captain died by suicide in 2017 after she had been raped by a senior of the rank of colonel. It caused a public outcry.
Signs of some change have emerged after the country’s own #MeToo movement – sparked in 2018 by prosecutor Seo Ji-hyun, who publicly accused a superior of groping her at a funeral. It prompted many others to speak out.