Learning from Kdrama: When sexual harassment happen


Gina Raasyidatus Sabiyla
8 min readDec 19, 2021


Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

Last few months there’s been a lot of reporting about sexual abuses in Indonesia. Some of them are getting viral on social media because the victim reported his case to netizens.

First, MS (male), told that he was bullied and sexually harassed by his seniors in his office work, Indonesia Broadcasting Commission (KPI, Komisi Penyiaran Indonesia), for 2012–2019. He has reported it to the National Commission of Human Rights (KOMNAS HAM), but he was asked to report it to the police. After reporting it for the second time, MS still doesn’t get justice. Then he posted the chronology of the case then it blew up on the internet.

Again, a mother was reported her ex-husband for sexual harassment to their three children who are under 10 years. She tried to reach the Empowerment Integrated Service Center of Women and Children East Luwu and the Police Office. But the irony is, she was labeled get a mental disorder and her children were investigated without her or psychological assistance. Then, the police discontinued this case. Thereafter, Makassar Legal Aid Institute (LBH), found out that any misleading in this case, such as the photos of children with bodily injuries, consistent and mutually reinforcing statements from three victims, and diagnosis of damage to vital organs due to rape.

Another case that makes the public infuriated is sexual harassment against 13 students by the supervisor of an Islamic Boarding Home in Bandung, Wes Java from 2016 until 2021. The victims are between 13 until 16 years old and some of them have already given birth.
This is so heartbreaking, those victims are just students who leave home to study but then their teacher destroys them. This case is investigated since July but there was no one media report it. So someone tells it on Twitter so that the perpetrator gets a harsher punishment.

Following those cases and how the authorities handle them, reminds me of some sexual harassment cases which often show up in Korean dramas.

Witch at Court (2017)

Witch at Court courtesy of KBS Drama

Law genres drama, the plot is about prosecutors working in a special division dealing only with sex crimes. The main cast is a woman prosecutor who is super-persistent and stubborn (Ma Yi-Deum, cast by Jung Ryeo Won) and an ex-child psychologist who works as a prosecutor in the same unit (Yeo Jin Wook, cast by Yoon Hyun Min). Accordingly their different upbringing, both main casts have the completely different demeanor to resolving a case. Ma Yi Deum tends to do whatever to arrest the perpetrators while Yoo Jin Wook always puts the victim’s condition first during the legal process.

Their first case was sexual harassment by a female professor against her male gay students. This case was resolved by punishing the perpetrator, but it’s remaining furious in viewers because Ma Yi-Deum heartlessly reveals the sexual orientation of the victim.
The second case ended up with Ma Yi-Deum being a victim of hidden cameras in her home that were set up by the defendant. This incident forces her to reveal her video in court as evidence. The feeling of being a victim builds more empathy for the victims of other cases.
Also, this drama told Ma Yi-Deum’s struggle to find her mother. Her mother is a survivor of sexual harassment who disappeared for over 20 years. She disappeared when try to hand over evidence that she had kept for 10 years to prosecutors.

Voice Season 2 (2018)

Golden Time Team on Voice 2 courtesy of OCN Drama

Voice 2, is a sequel of a criminal-action Korean drama, Voice, focused on chasing villains based on voice profiling in a unit of the police, Golden Time Team. Their first case is the attempted murder of the recidivist of sexual harassment by the victim’s father. The father hurries to carry a machete and come to the recidivist’s home right after hearing that his daughter (Hee Joo, cast by Lee Yoo-Mi) was kidnapped.
But, the fact is Hee Joo lied. She is not kidnapped, she only doesn’t want to the perpetrator exist. Because of that, the recidivist was discharged.
A not long time later, Hee Joo’s younger brother was kidnapped by the recidivist, since he is a pedophile who is attracted to children, he is no longer attracted to Hee Joo who is already a teenager.
To rescue her brother, Hee Joo hardly recalls her nightmare and gives some hints about the perpetrator. It’s heartbreaking. She has to open up her old wound moreover she is scared to live in society.
After that incident, the Hee Joo family’s condition that be concealed finally be discovered by their neighbor. They even collect petitions for the perpetrator to be severely punished and promise to protect He Joo’s family.

Taxi Driver (2021)

Ahn Go Eun on Taxi Driver courtesy of SBS Drama

Korean drama Taxi Driver is a secret revenge service by a taxi company. This service is towards powerless people who want revenge on everyone who hurt them. The main character is Kim Do Gi (cast by Lee Jee Hoon) as the taxi driver who is against all their client’s targets.
Some cases in Taxi Driver are related to sexual harassment. One of them shows the trauma of a family member who is a victim of sexual harassment.
After her sister’s suicide, Ahn Go Eun (cast by Pyo Ye Jin) feels lost. She obsessed with completely deleting the video of her sister’s sexual intercourse which was uploaded illegally. Every time the videos peep out, she felt guilty, anxious, and scared to face the world.
The trauma has gone when Kim Do Gi successfully deleted the video on the main server and arrested the perpetrator.

Hometown Cha Cha Cha (2021)

Hometown Cha Cha Cha courtesy of TVN Drama

Sexual harassment in Hometown Cha Cha Cha was occurred rapidly. The culprit at the time was a dental patient who deliberately touched the nurse. He swerves the fact that he is the perpetrator by phoning the cop and declars himself getting slander. The nurse first refuse to disclose her situation, because she was afraid of society judging and ruining the dental clinic’s reputation. But, because of huge support from her friends she courage to reveal everything.

Perhaps for some people, these are only short scenes from the series, but certainly, there must be a goal why the production team brings these sexual harassments scenes up.

Sexual harassment is a heinous act that not only destroys the victims physically but also mentally. It could happen anytime, anywhere, at school, work office, government institution, public transportation, even at home, or in the safest place that we thought. Moreover, the perpetrators
can be from any circle, family, friends, relatives, police, government officials, or strangers.

When we notice sexual harassment in our neighborhood, what we should do?

First, side the victims, provide protection. Why?
National Commission on Violence against Women (KOMNAS Perempuan) survey shows more than 90% of sexual harassment cases in Indonesia are not reported because in those cases the victims will be blamed if they report.

Most of the sexual harassment occurs very quickly and unexpectedly, which is why there is a lack of evidence of harassment. The absence of evidence is one of the reasons why the victims do not report their case, instead the victim has the potential to be labeled as a liar.
On the other hand, traumatized victims often difficult to reminding back their bad accidents and are even unable to retell them.

Therefore, psychological assistance is must noteworthy first so that victims feel safe and able to retell their cases consistently as evidence.
Research shows that sexual harassment survivor has the potential to suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as nightmares and intrusive thoughts. They always fell in danger and cannot trust others.

Accordingly, everlasting support from the closest one is very much needed. Such as those cases in the dramas above, Ahn Go Eun was able to pass her trauma because of her team’s support, Hee Joo’s family who always protecting her, Ma Yi Deum and her partner who always being a perfect team and Hye Jin who always defend Mi Seon (the nurse, on Hometown Cha Cha Cha) while police handle her case.

Second, build a safe environment.
The growing stigma in society regarding victims of sexual harassment is mostly negative. Labeling as a disgrace to society or someone who can not protect herself/himself, stereotyping as a bad one, and shunned by society. These are also reasons why the victims are reluctant to report and decide to be silent.
On the contrary, victims are mentally and physically susceptible and must be protected. One of the old cases in Indonesia is Ita Martadinata’s murder, a survivor of mass rape in 1998. Ita Martadinata was murdered a week before she went to the U.S to witness in United Nations.
In drama Witch at Court also shows Ma Yi Deum’s mother disappear when she went to hand evidence of sexual harassment against her.

When sexual harassment occurs in an area, this area should be
. Set up the light, improve the securities, provide psychological assistance to the victim and family, and be a solid supporter.

Perhaps I am too much into drama, but I think that’s not wrong at all if we can learn through it. When we realize sexual harassment occurs in our environment, let’s take action!!!

May we always be safe
Thank you for reading and happy great day!!!!


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