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Alliance in Jeolla seeks to help expats stay safe

 
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dairyairy



Joined: 17 May 2012
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 6:06 am    Post subject: Alliance in Jeolla seeks to help expats stay safe Reply with quote

http://nwww.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20121225000049

Quote:
Compared to many cities in the West, the level of street violence and other minor crime is low. Expats often remark that they feel much safer walking home at night in Korea.

But when they do fall victim to crime, the situation is often more complicated than at home. As well as common distrust of the police, many are unaware of their rights, the legal system, or even the proper way to seek help.

The Jeolla Safety Alliance is a group for foreigners in Gwangju and South Jeolla Province that seeks to help with some of these issues. It was set up to promote safety awareness, help prevent the occurrence of violent crimes, and aid those victims of violent crimes after the event.
The group is still new, prompted by the alleged rape of an English teacher by a taxi driver on her way home from the hospital in Gwangsan-gu in Gwangju on Oct. 30. The incident led to a huge online discussion on a forum for local expats.

“Many of the foreigners were surprised an event like this could happen, because many of us thought that Korea was much safer than our own home countries and it wouldn’t happen here,” said co-founder Nancy Harcar.

“It brought up different issues of how things like this happen, and what could be done to possibly prevent incidences in the future. Maria Lisak, Laura Sparley and I were really motivated to try and affect a change in this area, so we immediately put up the JSA group and agreed to work together on the problem.”

Harcar points out that some of the most simple problems have to do with a lack of cultural and other awareness.

“In my home country, I know where the ‘bad neighborhoods’ are, I can tell who is behaving in a threatening way,” she said. “Here, we do not know these things.”

She said that they plan to write advisory articles on cultural situations and how to speak up for yourself in a non-offensive but firm way.

Harcar added that one of the most common worries involved workplace interactions, in which a foreign employee was unsure about the limits of what was normal and how to assert themselves when they felt uncomfortable.








Quote:
“One thing that was surprising is the number of foreigners that have reached out to us, describing situations where they were touched in an inappropriate way or uncomfortable about a cultural exchange in the past in Korea and did not know what to do.

“Other foreigners have let us know they have been victims of assaults here in Korea in the past and had nowhere to turn. The problem is far more pervasive than we thought.”

Future

Harcar stressed that the initiative was reliant on community involvement, and that the amount of work involved meant that they plan to keep their activities local for the foreseeable future. However they suggested that in future they may cooperate with others who want to set up similar initiatives in other parts of Korea, and with Korean groups involved in preventing violent crimes.

She suggested that those who wanted to get involved first check their group page on Facebook, which has information about upcoming events, safety tips and safety warnings.

“We are accepting suggestions and questions on situations that folks have concerns about,” she said. “We very much want to be a place people can submit and share information with each other in English and make it easily accessible.”




Read more at the link.
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Adventurer



Joined: 28 Jan 2006

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a good initiative. I hope that people in the Kyungi-do area do something like this because men and women can get assaulted and may need help, and, as foreigners, we can be vulnerable. We can have a false sense of security here just because we don't hear about things such as drive-by-shootings and gang violence, but there are lot of assaults on women and assaults on people in general, and many of the assaults are under-reported.

Does anyone know if there's anything like that in other provinces?
I'm happy that we have a group like this in the Jeonnam area.
I hope those who need a voice can find it, and I hope everyone stays safe.
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nautilus



Joined: 26 Nov 2005
Location: Je jump, Tu jump, oui jump!

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if this article has appeared in the korean press.


Because some Koreans still think foreigners have a paradisical existence here with no problems whatsoever.
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Joe Boxer



Joined: 25 Dec 2007

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great idea.
I wonder if Dave would offer a free advertising space for "The Jeolla Safety Alliance"? That way new foreigners would know where to turn to if they have a problem.
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itiswhatitis



Joined: 08 Aug 2011

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a good idea.

I have 2 pieces of advice/cultural tips.

For men: It is not uncommon for Koreans to try to get you to assault them in an attempt to obtain blood money from you. Many foreigners don't know that the most injured person is automatically considered the victim under Korean law. Not that this happends all the time, but IT DOES happen. It happends to me about once a year.

For women: It probably won't take you long to figure out that Korean students ain't any more respectful than students from your home country (the fact that you are a foreigner does not help your cause). Girls are fully grown by the time that they are in their second year of midddle school. They will be well aware of it if they are bigger than you, you should be too. Not to take a shot at Korea, but using physical violence is not socially unaccaptable here in the way that it is in most other parts of the world. As a teacher you are not immune. My ex GF was terrified of a mean group of middle school girls at the middle school that she worked at.
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nautilus



Joined: 26 Nov 2005
Location: Je jump, Tu jump, oui jump!

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

itiswhatitis wrote:
It happends to me about once a year.


really? I'm guessing either you...

a) Flaunt your Korean girlfriend everywhere and are into PDA's
b) spend a lot of time in bars and nightclubs near drunk korean males
Or
c) have abundant road rage incidents due to driving around seoul on a daily basis
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Dodge7



Joined: 21 Oct 2011

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nautilus wrote:
itiswhatitis wrote:
It happends to me about once a year.


really? I'm guessing either you...

a) Flaunt your Korean girlfriend everywhere and are into PDA's
b) spend a lot of time in bars and nightclubs near drunk korean males
Or
c) have abundant road rage incidents due to driving around seoul on a daily basis

That's what i was thinking..."once a year" -- wow!
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Weigookin74



Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

itiswhatitis wrote:
This is a good idea.

I have 2 pieces of advice/cultural tips.

For men: It is not uncommon for Koreans to try to get you to assault them in an attempt to obtain blood money from you. Many foreigners don't know that the most injured person is automatically considered the victim under Korean law. Not that this happends all the time, but IT DOES happen. It happends to me about once a year.

For women: It probably won't take you long to figure out that Korean students ain't any more respectful than students from your home country (the fact that you are a foreigner does not help your cause). Girls are fully grown by the time that they are in their second year of midddle school. They will be well aware of it if they are bigger than you, you should be too. Not to take a shot at Korea, but using physical violence is not socially unaccaptable here in the way that it is in most other parts of the world. As a teacher you are not immune. My ex GF was terrified of a mean group of middle school girls at the middle school that she worked at.


Yeah, what are they putting in the water these days? The second year of middle school and at least half the middle school girls are almost as tall as me and the boys are my height or a little taller. A small minority are quite strong. Luckliy, I work out just so I can still beat them in arm wrestling. The older boys can be just as smart aleky as back home. If you don't have a quick witted reply, it'll be rough. Have it and they'll soon be put into their place.

But, yeah, kids here can be rough. I think us westerners are going to be shorter than these people in another 10 years or so. And foriegn women teachers will be smaller than Korean middle school girls definately. (I'm average height by the way and not short.)
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