North Korea never ceases to amaze the world with its unique and eccentric terms of dictatorship. We all know that North Korea isn’t a free country and only has one leader for life Kim Jing Un and his descendants. Though the county is closed to ordinary tourists and does not give free will of tourism, one can hardly locate or find a photograph of this country, however sometimes interesting facts do come out! Given the number of terrible laws, the state does not provide fundamental rights to its citizens and imposes strict totalitarian rules on them. Though men do have their own share of rules, the one set for women shows the extreme patriarchal situation inside the regime being overlooked.
Many North Korea’s women suffer daily episodes of abuse and injustice, then be at work or at home and there is no sign that this situation will ever improve. They face day-to-day inequalities and violation of basic human rights, as the only thing matter in the country is their leader Kim Jong Un. Some of the most basic rules are- that all women and men are allowed to have only one out of 28 government-approved haircuts. Yes, even a choice as simple as a haircut is also deemed to be taken away from North Korean citizens. There are only 18 haircuts for women and 10 for men and it is assumed that married women should wear shorter haircuts than unmarried women.
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North Korea is a country with a paradoxical and confusing system of gender relations.
Inside the country, women are considered second-class citizens and are not granted equal rights as men. Though women are allowed to work, there is little to no say about work ethics. Most working women faced sexual violence first-hand. Though North Korea has strict laws regarding rape in the country, it does not matter as male chauvinism restricts women from ever reporting them. If someone does report, the victim is blamed for her own rape. It’s so widely accepted that most women are afraid to report it. For example, North Korean cheerleaders that people loved at the Olympics were sexual slaves. These women are forced to go to parties and sleep with men either willingly or non-willingly.
And this isn’t everything, beautiful girls are pulled out of schools to become sex slaves for their leader Kim Jong Un. Officials came to schools and pick out teenage girls who then work in hundreds of households in the country’s capital Pyongyang. These girls are taught how to serve as sex slaves, and they cannot ever make a mistake or object because they could very easily simply disappear. Public execution is a common practice in the country and anything opposing or insulting to the ruling family is considered an absolute sin with punishments as severe as a public execution.
As if this isn’t enough, according to law, if anyone commits a crime in North Korea, not only he or she will be punished, but also their grandparents, parents, and children. This terrible law was created to prevent people from escaping from prison. Rapes are frequent within the workspace and a woman cannot achieve anything, not even her salary without being raped, be it in offices or even military. In the military, women go through sexual violence almost every day. Female soldiers are raped by their commanders which goes unreported almost every time.
Additionally, there are no laws against domestic violence. If a husband hits his wife, the government does not intervene. As a result, 3 out of every 10 households go through domestic violence. To add more misery, women are not even allowed to freely move inside the country without their husbands, which makes getting a divorce almost impossible. Life inside prisons is even worst, as female prisoners are not just raped by the officials but also by their fellow prisoners. In 2016, a horrific crime was reported where a woman was raped, and her newborn child was fed to dogs.
The country is on the verge of starvation as most North Koreans are starving and dying from hunger each day. Growing kids in North Korea are taught that their dear leader is the only almighty god, and that is why the bible is prohibited in the country. Now, one could simply question – Despite having so many issues, why is there no revolution in North Korea, unlike other countries? Why don’t people escape to other countries? The answer to this question is- they simply cannot. Every revolutionary idea or mind is buried before it even ignites. People are taught since childhood, that their only solace is Kim Jong Un and thus nobody even realizes that he is a dictator. When they do not know what is happening outside the border, when they are unaware of any advancement in the world, when they are living in dark their whole life, when they do not even know that they are being oppressed- how would they fight?
To fight for freedom, one must know that they are not free. Those who come to know about their reality do try to escape, but it is almost impossible to cross North Korean borders, and many of them end up being caught or dying. Though there are few lucky who do manage to escape Kim’s tyranny, the world is not so welcoming to refugees- are we?