SEOUL, July 9 (UPI) -- Remarks about women by Seoul's defense minister have raised controversy amid reports of sexual misconduct of high-ranking military officials.
Defense Minister Song Young-moo said on Monday women should be careful with their behaviors at a meeting intended to discuss sexual assaults in the military. The meeting was attended by military counselors on sexual matters, Joongang Ilbo reported.
"On one hand, women should also be careful with their behaviors and what they say," Song said.
"Things don't go as expected in women's lives. Girls should realize this," he added while sharing his recent conversation with his wife.
Song's controversial remarks came amid recent reports of alleged sexual assaults by male supervisors on lower-ranking female soldiers in the military.
The South Korean Army is investigating a sexual assault case, involving a division commander and a lower-ranking female soldier. Another Navy officer is under investigation for sexual violence on his subordinate female soldier. Two military police officers are accused of sexually harassing two female subordinates, according to Yonhap.
Reports of sexual assault in the military have been on the rise.
Defense Ministry data shows cases of sexual assault have increased gradually -- 32 in 2013, 47 in 2014, 48 in 2015 and 68 in 2016.
In response to the nationwide #MeToo movement, the ministry has set up a temporary task force for sexual crimes from February to April. A total of 29 sexual assaults were reported to the team with 20 of them involving higher-ranking male officers and female subordinates, according to Yonhap.