Assault Case of Deaf Students Sparks Regionalism Debate

Mary Hill, dormitory where the assault took place

In the wake of last year’s blockbuster film 도가니 (‘Dogani’, or ‘The Crucible’), which depicted the true story of the systematic sexual abuse of children in a school specialized for deaf students, there was public outcry. The film rose awareness of sexual assault crimes in Korea, which tend to go unnoticed since they are deemed shameful by many. In the case of ‘Dogani’, the abusers received light sentences and some even returned to work in the same school. Korean law is still seen as very lenient when it comes to punishing sexual offenders, and the heated debate still continues. Jeolla Province (region where the school is located) received a lot of negative press, but on February 9th, a case said to be similar to the one in the film ‘Dogani’ emerged – in the Gyeongsang region.

From edaily:

Another ‘Dogani’ incident – Sexual assault of deaf students in Ulsan

Just like with Gwangju Inhwa School [the school at the centre of attention in the film ‘Dogani’], the horrifying sexual assault occurred within student living facilities, involving half its male population.

Gwangju Inhwa School, at the centre of attention in the film Dogani

On February 9, 2012, the Ministry of Health and Welfare disclosed the occurrence of the abuse case involving 13 male students aged between 13 and 18 years old at ‘Mary Hill’ situated in Jungsan-dong (Buk-gu, Ulsan).

The assault consisted of the sexual abuse of new junior students who were led into the dormitory bathroom and assaulted by their seniors. It is estimated that the sexual abuse occurred continuously for a span of two years. Specialist in-depth interviews revealed that there were 10 victims and 9 perpetrators.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Health and Welfare said that “we found that 6 out of the 10 of those who were assaulted in turn sexually assaulted other students.”

Mary Hill was built prior to 1950 as living facilities for the deaf. The facilities, located next to a school for deaf people and made compatible for those attending the specialist school, accommodated 35 male students, 21 female students, and 30 helpers.

When the incident came to light, some of those students involved in the case were separated to go live in other facilities, while the others were sent home. Furthermore, the director of the facilities was replaced, and criminal charges are now being taken against him by the Ministry.

Those who committed the sexual assault are still minors, but the Ministry predicted that if the sexual assaults are proven to have been forced, then criminal prosecution is possible. However, given that the victims and their parents refuse to testify, the sex offence has yet to be the subject of complaint, and it is not yet known whether the investigation will proceed smoothly.

With this latest incident, the Ministry of Health and Welfare also revealed the results of the joint public-private investigation into the last incident of sexual abuse at Gwangju Inhwa School which had great social repercussions.

The Ministry revealed the results of the joint public-private investigation team, which included 140 civil-rights activists: from October 28 to December 22 of last year, of the 200 handicapped surveyed who resided in [specialized] living facilities, there were 59 confirmed cases of human rights abuse.

Protest against Inwha School, depicted in Dogani

Cha Hyeon-mi, head of Support for the Rights and Interests of the Disabled, said that “even though the deaf suffer from [this kind of] violence, it is difficult to hear their voice, and in the long-run, there seems to be many victims,” further adding that “there should be plans to ensure incidents like this one never occur again, through the strengthening of sex-education for the deaf.”

Comments from Nate:


For all those who were bitching about Jeolla province during the Inwha School scandal – why don’t you look at this


hoel!…. I live in Ulsan Northern District…. My friend does volunteer work there… ㅜㅜ*sigh* this world is so filthy


They are beasts, capital punishment plz. Pleasuring themselves with those whom they are supposed to help, they are not even human.


It can be assumed that almost all replies that harp on regional prejudice are by the paid workers. The deeper the regional hatred, the easier it is to manipulate.


I dare you to say “Gyeongsangdian” comments just like you used to drop “Jeolladian” comments. But I don’t see any?


The Joella province trash-talkers have all disappeared. Hey guys, it happened in Gyeongsang province as well, not just Joella province. I have no desire to play on regional hatred and I always try to stop those who talk shit about Gyeongsang province here. Can’t keep your chin up, can you??? Who among the young people are steeped in regionalism??? Only grandpas in their 70’s and 80’s with gas cylinders do that shit. Some idiot looking like a uni-student was doing “Jeolladian” shit and I fucking laughed at him.


Gyeongsang folks will either keep silent or try to frame Jeolla province into it ke ke ke ke ke


Crime stories about other provinces (especially Gyeongsang Province) do not usually have regional comments but there are sociopaths or p/timers who always search out crimes in Jeolla province and try to manipulate regional hatred. In fact it is clear who benefits the most from this. It is a ploy to denigrate Joella province which is more politically progressive than the extreme right-wing Saenuri Party. It’s very obvious from the ‘clean web usage-o-meter’ of those ones who encourage regional hatred. ㅋ Those with fucked up clean web-usage-o-meters really believe they do that out of sense of duty? Or because they promote it because they have some fringe benefits ㅋㅋㅋ


Where are all of those who promote regional hatred?


Where are those who jump on Jeolla province? The sexual crime issue is not limited to Gyeongsang or Joella provinces, it’s a national issue. Just because it happened in a particular place does not mean it is not your problem. We should have a sense of solidarity and resolve this as a whole. Frankly, nowadays I doubt there are that many regional natives anyhow. It is a problem for all of us…

Share This Article
Help us maintain a vibrant and dynamic discussion section that is accessible and enjoyable to the majority of our readers. Please review our Comment Policy »
Personals @ chinaSMACK - Meet people, make friends, find lovers? Don't be so serious!»