One of South Korea’s best-known actresses, Ok So-ri, has been given a suspended prison sentence of eight months for adultery.
South Korea is one of the few remaining non-Muslim countries where adultery remains a criminal offense.
A person found guilty of adultery can be jailed for up to two years. More than 1,000 people are charged each year, although, as in this case, very few are actually sent to jail.
The law has been challenged four times, but the country’s top judges have always ruled that adultery is damaging to social order, and the offense should therefore remain a crime.
Supporters of the law claim adultery undermines the social order, and say the law protects women’s rights in marriage.
Its opponents claim the law is often abused as a means of revenge or securing greater financial divorce settlements; and say in reality those who suffer under the law are most often women.
According to a survey carried out last year, nearly 68% of South Korean men and 12% of women confess to having sex outside marriage.
This news was educational for me because I didn’t know that adultery was considered a crime in South Korea. The percentage of men who cheat in South Korea (68%) seems quite high compared to the US (25%). A person should not commit adultery, but making it a crime is too extreme. Criminalizing something is easy, the root of the problem should be attacked instead.