S-Space College of Law/Law School (법과대학/대학원) The Law Research Institute (법학연구소) Journal of Korean Law (JKL) Journal of Korean Law Volume 16 Number 1/2 (2016/2017)
Statutory Rape in Korea: Do Teens have the Legal Capacity to give Consent to Sex?
- Lee, Seong-ki
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 아시아태평양법연구소
- Journal of Korean Law, Vol.16 No.2, pp. 285-310
- Protection and regulation of youth sex is a sensitive and complex issue in Korea. The Korean Penal Code criminalizes any person who, with no force or threat, obtained consensual intercourse with a minor under thirteen years old. Consensual intercourse with a juvenile aged thirteen or older is not an offense unless consent was acquired through fraudulent means or by means of force. Therefore, a perpetrator, who obtained intercourse without fraud or exercise of power with a minor aged thirteen or older, is not being punished. A multitude of cases has embarrassed Korean society and has fueled debate over the age of consent. This article discusses the age of consent under the Korean statutory rape law. After giving an overview in Part I of this paper, Part II is providing a primer of statutory rape under Korean Criminal Law articulating legislative intent, related principles, and the critiques of the statutory rape law. Part III discusses the issue of juveniles` capacity to consent to sexual intercourse focusing on whether they should be recognized as legally capable of making decisions based on sexual autonomy. Part III contends that the age of consent must be raised to protect juveniles from sexual abuse. Part IV proposes possible solutions for a balance between juveniles` sexual autonomy and the government`s protection.