Rape in South Korea: Breaking the Silence


  • Airdre Mattner


This article is a personal recount of being drugged, abducted, and raped in a foreign country. The expectation after reporting this horrific experience to the police was that justice would be served, following a thorough, effective investigation. However, this was not to be, as this article indicates. Because of the systemic difficulties encountered, I resorted to taking on both the investigation of my case and the police themselves in my pursuit of justice, leading to significant and unprecedented outcomes. 


A Articles/Books/Reports

Jung, Kyungja, ‘Practising Feminism in South Korea: The Issue of Sexual Violence and the Women’s Movement’ (2003) 29(2) Hecate 261

Lee, Eunju, ‘Marital Conflict and Social Support of Korean Immigrants in the United States’ (2005) 48(3) International Social Work 313

Postmus, Judy, and Suh Ah Hahn, ‘Comparing the Policy Response to Violence against Women in the USA and South Korea’ (2007) 50(6) International Social Work 770

Shaw, J, Rebecca Campbell and Debi Cain, ‘The View from Inside the System: How Police Explain Their Response to Sexual Assault’ (2016) 58 (3–4), American Journal of Community Psychology 446

B Treaties

International Criminal Court, Elements of Crimes, Doc No ICC-RC/11 (adopted 31 May–11 June 2010)

C Other

Fielder, D, ‘Redefining Rape in South Korea’, Korea Herald (online), 24 April 2012 <http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20120424001151>

Kurmelovs, R, ‘Public Battle over S Korea Rape Claim’, BBC News (online), 4 April 2016 <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-35931431>

Langdon, Alison, 9Now, ‘Fighting Back: Part 1’, 60 Minutes, 2016 <https://www.9now.com.au/60-minutes/2016/clip-ciosjh42p002m0knp6tgptr3c>

Langdon, Alison, 9Now, ‘Fighting Back: Part 2’, 60 Minutes, 2016 <https://www.9now.com.au/60-minutes/2016/clip-ciosjl574002n0knp5k0wmx49>

Lee, Claire, ‘Korea’s Rape Laws Self-Contradict’, Korea Herald (online), 27 April 2015 <http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20150427001282>

Hyun-ju, Ock, ‘Man Convicted of Sexual Assault after Australian Victim’s Campaign’, Korea Herald (online), 2 November 2016 <http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20161103000663>

Rabiroff, John, Ashley Rowland and Yoo Kyong Chang, ‘Korea Rape Sentences: Each Case Has “Unique Set of Circumstances”’, Stars and Stripes (online), 3 November 2011 <https://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/korea/korea-rape-sentences-each-case-has-unique-set-of-circumstances-1.159654#.WXnDUMeFflJ>

Strother, Jason, ‘South Korea Struggles to Confront Stigma of Sexual Assaults’, The Wall Street Journal (online), 25 October 2013 <https://www.wsj.com/articles/south-korea-struggles-to-confront-stigma-of-sexual-assaults-1382601988?tesla=y>

World Economic Forum, Global Gender Gap Report (2016) World Economic Forum <http://reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2016/rankings/>