What is #NTHROOM and why haven’t we heard about it on mainstream media?

The Nth Room is an online Telegram chat platform run by Ju-bin Cho, most prominent in South Korea, where thousands of digital sex crimes are committed on the daily. Hundreds, if not more, women suffer from being sexually exploitation and violence. It contains very graphic and gruesome descriptions of each act.

The head honcho of the Nth Room was known as “The Doctor,” who was later revealed by the South Korean police to be Cho Ju-bin. An operator named “GodGod”, who remains at large, created eight chat rooms. The women were lured on the pretext of jobs, money, luxury items, etc. The operator, Cho, tricked the female victims into sending him nude photos with their faces. He told them it was part of a high-paying part-time job. Once he had what he needed, he would use the naked pictures to blackmail them. He would further go and demean them by referring to the victims as “slaves” on Telegram chat rooms. The male members of the chat rooms are urged to find the girls, rape them, record the acts, and publish the videos. It was tactically used to almost punish the women by inciting fear that it could happen to them.

On March 19th, 2020, the first member of the “Nth Room” was apprehended and soon followed the arrest of another 124 suspects. The Telegram platform had 200,000 users. It’s repulsive that these people feel aroused by the misery of the exploited women. But the arrests and the investigation of the dark web platform only came to light when protesters pressure the government by signing petitions and marching for justice.

Living in North America, we feel like social media and having everything to our disposal with a click of a finger. But how is it that we have yet to hear about it here? If it were not for a friend who bought this to my attention, this kind of heinous crime would never come to light for me. Here is what she had to say about the situation:

As a Korean woman, I have no confidence in living in this country. I know that the ‘Nth room’ is not the only case. We have too much long history about the exploitation of women’s sex in this country. We are losing so many girls, but I feel like our country doesn’t even care about these kinds of issues. Women, underage girls, kids are in danger. They were exploited, and so many Korean Men paid up to $1,200 to watch it. Before the ‘Nth room,’ there were’ Burning Sun scandal’ and ‘Coronet.’ But nothing has been changed. Only perpetrators are living their daily lives.

I don’t have to know the exact number of Korean men who entered the ‘Nth room.’ I don’t care whether it’s 10,000 men or 260,000 men. I’m just curious about how many people have shared one ID, which paid such a high admission fee. Is it 2~3? Or more than ten people? Although the ‘Nth room’ incident received this much attention, the next destination after Telegram was Discode. The number of ‘Nth room’ observers in the Discode was about 300,000. And of which 110,000 fled after erasing the evidence. Then where’s next? Unfortunately, I have no hope that the nation will soon be able to stop their constant escape and extension of crime. Do I lack faith in my country? How much more to fight, how much more to fear for women living in South Korea? Can we be protected? Can we?

I feel miserable every day. A number of accounts were posted on Twitter, talking about sharing or sell “Nth room leak videos.” Will the Nth room be the end? I know that If we hadn’t been sensitive, we couldn’t have been this loud today. Seeing that the petition to reveal ‘Baksa’s face’ and put him on the photo line reached 280,000 in two days, I feel even more boundless possibilities. If you really didn’t know about this issue, and you were able to pass away a month that would have been worse than hell for someone, then from now on, try to be more sensitive, angrier, and keep telling people about Nth Room. Let’s all be together.

– J. Ko (@frankwack)

This a reality that women are too familiar with—having our freedoms being stripped away from men who feel they have some sort of entitlement on us and our bodies. Rather than being allies in and trying to abolish such platforms, they feed into it and share amongst each other. Can you imagine the uproar if the roles were reversed?

We need voices, however small they may to come together and fight against such acts, much like the people who protested on the streets in Seoul called for the government to take action against the perpetrators. It’s a small victory, but it started a movement.

Picture by Getty Images.

Read also:
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Let’s Try To Save The World: 10 Important Women’s Rights Causes
An Intersection Rarely Discussed: Being An Asian American Lesbian Or Bisexual Woman