[OP-ED] Sulli's Death Reveals the Dark Truths Behind Korean Society, and Leads to Possible Change in Laws

Jay Yim, Oct. 17, 2019, 5:29 p.m.


When Sulli died suddenly, it raised a lot of questions about what South Korea was as a society. Why do they tolerate so much cyberbullying? Why is it so widely ignored? The diplomats can take better steps to prevent cyberbullying from getting to harsh.

The dark truth behind Korean society is that they are still very conservative, and don't take kindly to the idea of women being so outspoken and expressive. Korean society is highly based around hierachy, about who is at the top and who is at the bottom. The sad truth is, men always think they need to put the women in their place. Before moving any further, let's dive into what happened with Sulli and how her death is changing the flow of society.

Sulli was found dead in her home on October 15, 2019. Police most likely believed it to be a suicide, but without enough evidence, they kept all other possibilities open.

After they performed an autopsy, they ruled out the cause of death to be a homicide because they found no signs of external damage. At this point, it is most possible that Sulli took her own life.

If that is the case, it is something that shouldn't come to as a surprise because of all the backlash, malicious comments, and cyberbullying Sulli went through. Many netizens criticized her for having forward-thinking views on politics, women's rights & sexuality even. The online community clearly did not like that she was so outspoken.

When Sulli come out in the movie Real, she starred in a sex scene and even portrayed the use of drugs. Because of this, many negative rumors started to spread about her. But Sulli eventually spoke out and said she embraced method acting.

When Sulli joined the variety show 'The Night of Hate Comments', she confidently opened up about many topics, including her pregnancy rumors, family plans, dating preferences and a lot more.

Sulli returned to the music scene with her single 'Goblin' in June, 2019. The song discussed a person with dissociative disorder. However, Mental health is an issue that is still largely taboo in South Korea, so for Sulli to seemingly embrace the idea, many people spoke up and shunned her.

The sad truth about Sulli and her untimely death is that she was living in a society that was still not able to fully embrace the idea of women expressing themselves in a free manner. If they did, it was almost always met with backlash from the public.

But it doesn't go without saying her death did not make an impact. Through Sulli's outspoken, and confident way of living, we hope that it will begin to change the current society of South Korea, and begin to embrace women and their ability to express themselves.

With her death, lawmakers made a historical decision to offer up a bill referred to as the 'Sulli Act', which is to counter those who leave malicious comments.

The bill was proposed by nine members of the National Assembly. Approximately 100 organizations, including he Global Culture & Art Solidarity, Federation of Korean Trade Unions, and Korean Government Employee’s Union, as well as approximately 200 celebrities who have experienced the backlash of malicious comments or were colleagues with Sulli have decided to support the bill. The bill will be brought to the diplomatic table on the 49th day of Sulli's death (early December), which will be held at the National Assembly's Memorial Hall.

There was also a petition submitted to Moon Jae In's office which called for the punishment of Sulli's cyberbullies. In addition, it called for more strict rules to control cyberbullies. The petition asked for an ID verification requirement for online comments as well as punishing journalists who invade the privacy of a celebrity or publish malicious rumors. As of Wednesday morning, more than 11,000 people had signed the petition.

It's unfortunate that the nation had to wait after Sulli's, and even late SHINee member, Jonghyun's death, to make moves to combat cyberbullying, but nonetheless, actions are being taken and it certainly is a shift in the nation's flow of society.

This gives hope not just to the celebrities, but the average citizen, of Korea. The issue of cyberbullying is not just present in the K-pop world, but also all around the nation.

If this bill is to be passed, it will change the whole nation in ways they never could have imagined. Let's all hope for the best and realize how wrong Korean society is.

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