South Korea‘s president officially supports the country’s growing Me Too movement against sexual harassment and assault, making it the first time the country’s leader has publicly backed any movement of its kind.
According to the Associated Press, President Moon Jae-in announced his support in a meeting with advisers on Monday, saying he respects survivors who have spoken out and urging authorities to investigate cases of harassment and assault. Moon also touched on gender violence and sexual misconduct, stating such offenses will only change with a change in culture and understanding.
Moon’s support follows weeks of women in South Korea saying that high-profile men in art, entertainment, religion, and literature sexually harassed, assaulted, abused, or raped them. The AP reports that the latest round of accusations came after Seo Ji-hyeon, a female prosecutor, talked about being subject and vulnerable to sexual misconduct at the hands of male colleagues. The justice ministry has launched an investigation into Seo’s case against a senior male prosecutor.
Across the globe, the hashtag #MeToo has become a trending topic in at least 85 countries, with other world leaders chiming in to also support the movement, such as French First Lady Brigitte Macron. President Donald Trump, however, has instead sided with the accused, previously tweeting on Feb. 10 that “due process” no longer exists, and that “life and career are gone” for people accused of sexual misconduct.
At least 19 women have said Trump himself sexually harassed or assaulted them. He continues to be the president of the United States.
“I actively support the MeToo movement,” Moon said, according to his office. “We should take this opportunity, however embarrassing and painful, to reveal the reality and find a fundamental solution. We cannot solve this through laws alone and need to change our culture and attitudes.”