South Korean lawmakers are attempting to re-classify “semen terrorism” as sexual assault after cases of the act were punished lightly or not considered as sexual assault at all.

The outcry from women and feminist groups has grown louder as recent cases of “semen terrorism” have been lightly punished or classified as property damage. Democratic Party lawmaker Baek Hye-ryun is considering reclassifying the heinous attack under “indecent acts,” Wion reported Thursday.

“Sex crimes need to be interpreted from the victim’s point of view,” Baek said.

Her bill plans to expand the scope of sex crimes to include non-physical actions that bring sexual shame to the victim, which includes receiving seminal fluids from men in nonconsensual ways, according to the Taipei Times.

“Semen terrorism” is described as when men smear or distribute ejaculate on women’s belongings and things without physical contact. It is part of a growing trend in South Korea where sexual crimes are increasing whilst the legal framework for cases remains stagnant.

A case where a man ejaculated on a female co-worker’s coffee cup six times in half a year’s time was charged only with property damage and slapped with a 3 million Korean won (US$2,568) fine and no prison time, according to the Independent.

“The victim was sexually humiliated, but it was not considered a sex crime because it was not seen as involving direct physical contact,” Baek told the media. “By charging the perpetrator with ‘damage of property,’ his act was judged to have infringed on the utility of the tumbler.”

The proposed law has yet to be discussed by the South Korean legislature.

South Korean police estimate that one woman is killed or nearly killed every 1.8 days for crimes of a sexual nature perpetrated to them, with one report claiming that 3.4 sex crimes are reported every hour in South Korea.

While some cases of “semen terrorism” were acknowledged as acts of molestation, over 53 percent of judges hand out suspended sentences, which means that the defendant can serve the time under probation instead of jail.

“Every sex crime is a crime,” Choi Won-jin, secretary-general of womens’ rights group Korean Womenlink, said. “This isn’t a random act of violence in the street, it’s targeting a specific gender.”

South Korean lawmakers want "semen terrorism" classified as a sex crime after lenient sentences have been handed out to its male perpetrators. This is a representational image. Portuguese Gravity/Unsplash

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