Whenever someone new debuts or is close to debuting, netizens take it as their job to find as much information as they can about the aspiring idol/actor/model. Of course, being under the spotlight is hard, and everyone has something they’d rather keep buried six feet under. Sometimes, though, those aspiring idols have darker secrets, the kind that could cost them their career.

Most recent cases of possibly revealed dirty laundry are the Produce 101 trainee Han Jong Yeon who was accused for sexual molestation and bullying one of his former classmates, and another Produce 101 trainee Jeong Jungji accused of groping a girl he was on a date with. Not to mention some of the little older scandals like Jennie of Black Pink being accused for bullying a classmate as well, which was later to be proven false.

When people suddenly come out with such claims about a public figure that just hit fame (or will), you have to take it with a grain of salt. Let’s face it, most of the public personas have both the looks and charisma for which people will either love or hate them. Thus, some individuals might make things up either to ruin the persona out of hate, or for other personal gain.

However, when the claims are about bullying or groping, you have to be extremely careful. South Korea is a country with a lot of problems, some of which are as serious as inadequate gender equality and high rates of abuse throughout the school system.

Children will tease anyone who doesn’t appear to fit in with the rest of them. But in South Korea, it doesn’t stop at teasing. There were cases where kids would get locked up in school’s toilets, their stuff would be stolen and broken, they’d get completely ignored by the rest of the class as if they had the plague, they’d get beaten up or even worse. If you don’t believe me, you can check out this interesting article on bullying in South Korea.

In case of groping, there were numerous women who spoke about being touched inappropriately or worse, but they couldn’t report it to the police because they wouldn’t be taken seriously or would be blamed for not defending themselves, even in case or rape. Especially because the country is, even with it’s development, still lacking proper gender equality.

What I’m trying to say with this article is that, when serious accusations emerge, they should be thoroughly looked at and investigated. In cases of bullying and molestation, a lot of people just turn their heads away or jump to conclusions, instead of trying to stop the problem. This indicates that it’s not surprising when victims, after being told it was their fault, get the courage to speak up only when their abuser becomes a public person. It gives them a chance to finally get their voices heard, not only by the abuser, but by everyone who turned their backs to them, too.

When someone does something as terrible as molestation or bullying, they shouldn’t have the right to go out and enjoy their lives as if nothing happened. Quite the contrary, they should be penalized and disciplined for their behaviour as it harmed and scarred others, possibly for life. In that case, the past of the individual which did such things shouldn’t stay in the past. Imagine having someone bullying you for 4 or more years, calling you names, beating you. How would you feel if no one listened to you and no one believed you? Better yet, how would you feel if you saw that person one day smiling on the TV screen, portraying themself as a golden child?

Of course, why I noted every accusation should get thoroughly investigated is not only so that the victims can get justice. As mentioned before, there are individuals out there ready to make up rumors for either revenge, personal financial gain, attention and or reasons. Giving false allegations is a serious crime offense and should be treated harshly. For instance, thanks to taking claims of rape against him quite seriously, JYJ’s Yoochun was proven innocent in once case at least.

When an individual is saying they were victims of the public persona, the wisest thing to do is to neither attack the persona nor the accuser. We don’t know where the truth lies until it’s been confirmed officially. Jumping to conclusions does more harm than good, as it could either cost the person their career, or the victim their life. Instead, we should let the authorities, companies and whoever can resolve the issue, to resolve it.

We should open our eyes and try to see if there is anyone in our sight that is bullied, hurt, used, extorted, falsely accused or anything worse. We should try to help anyone going through rough times like these. Don’t put yourselves in danger while doing so, though, as you will not achieve anything. Rather, try to contact the authority, centers, try to talk with the victim yourself and see if there’s anything you can do.

And most importantly, if you are one of the people going through anything like this, please… ask for help.