The rape of female teacher causes public outrage

Janice Hong, June 7, 2016, 11:23 a.m.


The gang rape of a female teacher in a remote island village in Shinan County, South Jeolla Province, is igniting fierce public outrage. The teacher’s rape by three locals has sparked criticism against the lack of safety measures and flagrant disregard for the rights of women and teachers in rural areas.

The regional government’s homepage is being bombarded with comments on the case and incompetence of the local officials, which some say was the cause for the attack.

More than 300 messages called for the governor’s resignation, while some said they would boycott the sea salt produced in the region.

The police revealed details of the case on June 3. The victim’s distress call came in the wee hours of May 22.

According to police, the victim had dinner at one of the local restaurants where she was asked to join the three suspects, two of whom are parents of children at her school. 

The men insisted that the victim drink, despite her repeated refusal as she had plans to explore the village the next day.

Once the victim was inebriated, one of the men volunteered to drop her home and raped her at her residence, followed by the other two. 

The teachers’ residence, a detached house where four female teachers lived, does not have a gate and the nearest CCTV is located over a kilometer away. 

The victim reported the crime to the police when she regained consciousness. Her soiled clothes and blankets were taken in as evidence. In the morning the victim went to a hospital where DNA evidence was collected from her body. 

Tests have matched the evidence collected from the victim with those of the three suspects. 

The police are currently investigating whether this was a premeditated crime, taking into consideration the rape occurred close to the end of her contract as a temporary teacher and she was planning to leave the island. 

Lawmaker Kim Jung-jae was among many who called the case a savage violation of women’s rights, deserving the harshest punishment. 

Kim reasserted the need to raise safety measures in far-flung areas and the Education Ministry’s responsibility to enhance the female teachers’ social position.  

The South Jeolla Office of Education said it plans to help transfer the victim to a school of her choice, as well as grant her a leave of absence and sick leave. It will hire a lawyer for the victim if the case goes to court.

The office said it will run a check on all female teachers’ residences in the remote islands of South Jeolla Province. 

The Ministry of Education will follow up with nationwide security checks on teachers’ residences. 

Shinan County had previously been lambasted for abuse of human rights of people with mental disability who worked in the local salt pans in conditions not far from modern day slavery. 

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