Posted : 2011-10-05 19:11
Updated : 2011-10-05 19:11

Practical solutions absent in ’Dogani’ furor

Members of civic groups for the disabled hold a rally, calling for the cancelation of the operation license of Gwangju Inhwa School in front of Gwangju City Hall, Wednesday. The school’s hearing-impaired children were sexually assaulted by their teachers and school staff for years for over a decade and the incident was recently made into a film. / Yonhap

By Kim Tae-jong

The entire nation has been venting a collective fury over the past several weeks following the release of a film based on a true story about sexual assaults against disabled students by teachers at a regional school.

From President Lee Myung-bak to regional police officers, policymakers and law enforcement officers, people are belatedly pledging to take countermeasures and take preventive steps.

The movie, titled “Dogani” or “The Crucible” in English, was released late last month, featuring sexual assaults against hearing-impaired children by teachers and school staff on students at Gwangju Inhwa School for years since 2000.

However, many members of human rights organizations who have worked for a long time to promote the welfare of the disabled say the current public backlash should lead to more profound solutions to tackle prevalent human rights violations against the disabled.

“What we saw in the movie is nothing unusual,” said Yang Baek-yong, an official at the Research Institute of Differently-able Persons’ Rights. “Various abusive and discriminative treatment as well as sexual assaults against the disabled take place everywhere all the time. People are just ignorant or don’t want to pay attention to this fact.”

Yang, who works as a human rights consultant for the disabled, hopes the movie will be a chance for people to become more aware of the violations of human rights of the disabled and make efforts to prevent them.

“What is necessary in the public uproar and growing media attention surrounding the film is a calm approach to more fundamentally tackle the problem,” he said.

Teachers at Inhwa School raped or sexually harassed students but were punished lightly, with some of them continuing to work at the school.

Gwangju City has decided to cancel the school operation license of the welfare foundation.

In response, experts say the punishment is far from sufficient.

Park Jang-woo, an official at the Human Rights Forum of Persons with Difficulties, expressed his concern that the “Dogani” phenomenon may end with punitive actions without leading to concrete preventive measures.

“I don’t want this phenomenon to boil up quickly and cool down fast without producing more practical measures,” said Park. “What we want is not just due punishment of people involved in the sexual assaults but also more profound solutions that can prevent such horrible things from happening again.”

He also requested politicians to come up with preventative measures, including amendments to relevant laws, so that violations of human rights against the disabled can be systematically prevented.

Other human rights activists for the disabled also called for the government to abolish special welfare institutions for the disabled, claiming such institutes themselves are discriminating.

“At such institutes, the disabled tend to be isolated within society,” said Kim Dae-sung, an official from Disabled People’s International. “Welfare institutes for the disabled themselves are a violation of human rights as they deprive them of a chance to live as part of the society by isolating them.”

If such institutes exist, problems in “Dogani” will be never solved as the disabled suffer from discriminative and abusive treatment without being properly taken care of, he said.

“The ideal solution is to help the disabled live with us. They should be given a chance to receive education with other people, get a job and lead a happy life, just like us, in our society.”
관련 한글 기사

실제적 해결책이 빠진 “도가니” 광분

전국은 영화 “도가니”로 인해 들끓고 있다. “도가니”는 청각 장애 아동들이 다니는 광주 인화 학교에서 실제 벌어진, 학생들에 대한 교사들의 성폭행과 성폭력을 다룬 영화이다.

이명박 대통령부터 지역 경찰관들 및 정치인들까지 뒤늦게야 이와 관련된 대책을 마련하겠다는 공약을 내놓고 있다.

하지만 장애인 인권 단체들은 현재 시민들이 보여주는 분노가 좀 더 근본적인 대책을 마련하는 계기가 되어, 앞으로 장애인들에 대한 인권침해를 막을 수 있어야 한다고 이야기하고 있다.

“영화에서 우리가 본 것은 그리 특별한 것은 아닙니다.” 라고 장애우권익문제 연구소 양백영 간사는 말했다. “장애인들에 대한 성폭력을 비롯해 다양한 차별 대우는 항상 어디에서나 일어나고 있습니다. 사람들은 단지 알지 못하거나 이에 관심을 갖지 않을 뿐입니다.”

장애인들의 인권 상담을 하고 있는 양씨는 영화로 인해 사람들이 장애인에 대한 인권 침해에대한 인식을 높이고 이에 대한 대책을 마련할 수 있기를 희망했다.

인화 학교의 교사들은 학생들을 성폭행했으나 가벼운 처벌을 받는데 그쳤고, 몇몇은 아직도 학교에 근무 중이다. 광주시는 학교의 법인 인가 취소할 계획이다.

이에 대해, 전문가들은 처벌은 충분한 조치가 아니라고 말한다.

한국장애인인권포럼 박장우 사무국 차장은 도가니 광분이 구체적인 방지책을 내놓지 못하고 단순 처벌에서 마무리 될 것에 대해 우려를 표명했다.

“이번 현상이 빨리 끓었다가 너무 쉽게 식어버리지 않기를 바랍니다. 우리가 원하는 것은 관련자들에 대한 단순 처벌만이 아니라 좀 더 근본적인 대책이 마련되어 이같이 끔찍한 일이 다시는 일어나지 않는 것입니다.”

그는 또한 정치인들이 법 개정을 비롯해 좀 더 구체적이고 확실한 방지 대책을 내놓기를 기대한다고 말했다.

다른 장애인 단체의 활동가들은 장애인 시설 자체가 차별적 조치라며, 시설 자체의 폐지를 촉구하기도 했다.

“이런 생활 시설에서, 장애인들은 사회로부터 고립됩니다.” 라고 한국 DPI 김대성 사무 총장은 말했다. “장애인 시설들 자체가 장애인들로부터 사회의 일원으로 살아가는 기회를 빼았는 차별적 조치입니다.”

이런 시설들이 남아있는 한, “도가니”에서 보여진 문제는 결코 해결되지 않을 것이라고 그는 말했다.

“가장 이상적인 방법은 장애인들이 우리와 함께 살 수 있도록 돕는 것입니다. 그들에게 비장애인들과 함께 교육 받고, 직업을 구하고, 우리와 같이 행복한 삶을 우리 사회 속에서 살 수 있도록 하는 기회를 주어야 합니다.”

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