'My Life Is Not Your Porn': South Korea's Upskirting Epidemic

"Don't come to Korea. Your young daughter could be a pornstar."

In subway stations in South Korea, government-paid security personnel make sweeps of toilets looking for hidden cameras.

This is the everyday reality for South Korean women -- the constant fear they are being violated by hidden cameras and unashamed perpetrators.

Thousands of upskirting videos of South Korean women are available on pornography websites.

A hidden-camera search squad, consisting of student and citizen volunteers, scan a restroom near a public pool in Changwon, South Korea on July 25, 2018. Image: Getty Images

Why, ask so many South Korean women, are women paraded in front of the media and imprisoned, yet so many men are afforded privacy -- or not charged at all for upskirting?

The issue was highlighted in June, when a 25-year-old women, known by her surname Ahn, was jailed for ten months for upskirting, with many calling it a double-standard because the victim was male.

"It [upskirting] is patriarchy and minaturised super-technology meeting," said UTS Business School Associate Professor Bronwen Dalton, who serves as the Vice-President of the Korean Studies Association of Australasia.

Since June, monthly protests have seen thousands turn out to protest the act, and call for a change in societal views.

South Korean women protest against sexism and hidden camera pornography on August 4, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea. Image: Getty Images

There is a turning tide -- following the rape of a woman in the Seoul district of Gangnam last year, steps have been taken to protect women.

Panic buttons in public toilets, more security and lighting in public places -- but it has been criticised as is merely a box-ticking approach.

The #MeToo movement in South Korea is more heated than in the West, said Dalton.

"The vitriol, the anger expressed, the social media movement, it's huge," she told ten daily.

But they face a "cultural battle ground" she added, against the rebuttal from the traditionalists.

"They're in the trenches," she said.

Upskirting Laws In Australia

Upskirting is illegal in all states and territories in Australia.

NSW does not have specific legislation, but it is illegal to film a person's private parts under the Crimes Act 1900. Each offence carries a maximum jail term of five years.

Victoria introduced specific legislation in 2007, with the Upskirting Amendment. Filming carries a maximum penalty of two years, as does distributing the images.

Upskirting In The U.K.

Upskirting was brought to the forefront in the United Kingdom in June, after police declined to prosecute a man accused of taking upskirt photos because the woman had been wearing underwear.

The victim, Gina Martin, launched a campaign attracting more than 70,000 signatures to have specific laws banning the act.

A Private Members' Bill was introduced to parliament, but just one objection from Conservative MP Christopher Chope blocked the bill.

"The provisions in this Bill could lead to unintended consequences," he said in parliament.

He was met with shouts of "shame' during the vote.

The Bill has yet to be passed.