Teachers sexually violated disabled students … Inhwa School story

Sometimes, one movie, one novel, or one article can change the whole thing. And one such phenomenon is happening in Korea now due to an unthinkable success of movie ‘Dogani’. It is based on a novel of the same title ‘Dogani’ by Jee-young Gong (@congjee). The novel is centered around the sexual violence cases by school employees to students happened in a special school for hearing-impaired students in one part of Korea. In the epilogue of this novel, she recalls that she was struck by a news article describing the court just after the ‘cotton club’ sentence delivered to the offenders in the appeal trial. This post is a totally unauthoritative translation of an article (in Korean) appeared in a news site, Nocut News, on September 27, 2011, to deliver an abridged history of the criminal case. As such, full rights about this article are also on the original author of this story or ‘Nocut News’ and this post will be dropped by their request. The original story can be located at the link in the bottom.

Movie ‘Dogani’ hits big time, public opinion sizzles

School employees, beasts in the cover of human face, sexually violated hearing-impaired fragile school girls

Movie ‘Dogani’, based on the sexual violence case happened at Gwangju Inhwa School in 2005, hits big time in Korea attracting close to 1 million viewers within a week since debut and public interest on the actual case gets rocket high. In the internet, people vehemently demand not only reinvestigation of the case but also harsher punishment to offenders.

Inhwa School sexual violence case

Inhwa School sexual violence case is a criminal case where several school employees including even the principal of the school sexually violated disabled school girls in a special school for hearing-impaired students in Gwangsan-gu, Gwangju Metropolitan City.

School employees including school principal as well as chief administration officer and dormitory guidance teacher sexually violated disabled students indiscriminately starting from 2000.

One teacher who could not play blind for such brutality anymore exposed this to sexual violence counseling office in June 2005, which led to police investigation.

In November, the chief administration officer Kim (58) and dormitory guidance teacher Lee (36) were arrested on sexual violence charges. Kim and Lee were sentenced for 1 year and 2 years of imprisonment respectively at the appeal court in August 2006. Kim were charged with sexually violating or assaulting 6 hearing-impaired students aged 7~20 during 2000~2004 period within the school premise.

Later, Korean National Human Rights Commission took up the investigation and more offenders including principal Kim (58) and life rehabilitation teacher Park (60) were charged for sexual violence and assault.

Principal Kim and teacher Park were sentenced 5 years and 10 months of imprisonment respectively in the first trial but released in the second trial with probation in July 2008. The court raised the reasons that they did not have any prior criminal records and made agreements to drop charges with families of offended girls. Principal Kim, set free from probation, died of pancreatic cancer in September 2009.

With renewed public interest in the case from the big time hit of movie ‘Dogani’, public opinion sizzles demanding reinvestigation of the case and harsher punishment than the slap on the wrist punishment already delivered. However, the possibility of reinvestigation seems quite remote practically due to ‘double-jeopardy’ principle which dictates that cases where court already delivered its decision once cannot be opened again.

On the other hand, Inhwa School Sexual Violence Countermeasures Committee (Inhwa committee) put up an online petition on a web portal Daum titled ‘We demand Woosuk Foundation and its supervisory bodies’ on September 25. This petition hopes to draw 50,000 supporters until October 20 and 12,949 people already signed on it by 5PM September 26.

In the petition, Inhwa committee said “We rebuke the heinousness of Woosuk Foundation who would not show any hint of apology for 7 years since the incident took place and the incapacity of supervising bodies who promised thorough investigation and punishment about Inhwa School 1 year ago but could not actually proceed any actual investigation yet.”

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  1. horrible….

  2. They should be skinned alive. horrible people. Lust is really evil. Hate the sin and hate the sinners most.

  3. I show the movie and let me confess, I have many horrible ones but this movie disturbed me most. I feel shame as human that the offenders are let loose, some without punishment and some with meager ones.

    1. F*ckin Pissed · · Reply

      I just got done watching this movie with my cousins & I seriously cried my eyes out. I mean, how can people like this even Live with themselves? They are not human, they are monsters.

  4. grace youre wrong hate the sin but love the sinner you might not like what people have done, like these people. But they were created by God aswell he hates the sin butl oves the sinner the same way he loves us all.

    1. no, you’re wrong. kill them all, and let god sort them out.

    2. It’s crazy how you got a lot of thumbs down for that statement about God hating the sin but loving the sinner. I don’t get how you thumbs down being loved even though every one has or had evil intent once in their lifetime or done bad things. I’m not saying I’m for what these people have done but I’m also not for killing these people. I too wished while watching this movie that they would get what they deserved and was pissed off with how the justice system failed the kids but it was the quote at the end of the movie that really got to me. “We should not fight to change the world, but to stop it from changing us.” From what being a Christian has taught me it’s not just the act of doing evil, it’s also where the heart lies. The hearts evil intent is as bad as the act itself.

  5. Hm,, yeah, thanks for reminding. I just can’t help it.

  6. some pissed off kid · · Reply

    This movie made me hate religion even more. There is clear evidence right before their eyes, yet they fail to see it because the chairmen are devote christians. Really? Lovely. Fucking lovely.

    1. The people that committed those horrible crimes against those children were HIDING behind the front of being “devout Christians”! There was NOTHING at all Christian about those people !! “Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.” The devil is getting hell “extra hot” for them !!!

  7. from what i have heard the case was brought to an end in 2011 and the teachers allowed to teach again fuck that if i was their student i would so beat the crap out of them, but ive also heard that they are still fighting hard to win the case, and because of the film and book the case is possibly going to be reopened, what i want to know is am i able to help and support them in any way i want to do what i can to help these people win the case, heck i would even fly over to korea and protest if i had to so if anyone knows of anyway i can help out please let me know

  8. I just saw the movie and that got me to research on what exactly happened in the Inhwa case…..

    It’s utterly unfair and the judge and those money-hungry b******* can go to F****** H***!!!!! After sexually harassing, abusing and raping mere children-let alone deaf and mute children, these people only get 1-2 years in prison?! No justice…..NO JUSTICE!!!!! Just cause they have money and are religious? Excuse me, I believe in God, but I don’t think just because you pray every night makes you above others and can take advantage of others. Being so cruel…God would shut the doors of heaven to them and they would suffer in hell. Gosh….this whole case gave me the goosebumps. It was one of the most scariest movies I ever saw- because the pain and suffering and horror that those children went through will forever give me nightmares. And sadly….this is an event that happened in real life….and recently too. 😥

    1. I can not believe that people still bring up reasons like being a good christian or having invested in the community, to the plain facts, that thos f***ing ugly monsters raped continuously minors, affected them both physically and psychologically! This is so utterly unbelievable and without any sense. It doesn’t CHANGE the fact that you commited a horrible act towards a human being, who DID NOTHING to them. It makes me feel ashamed of the fact that we have the Declaration of Human Rights as a guidline, and people are purposefully not paying attention to the damn essence of what happened and let people get away so easily. This makes me so angry!
      And the fact that they don’t even understand how much harm they did is horrible. There’s no religion or whatever good they might have brought to the world that would excuse them of what they did. This doesn’t prove one’s character and its inclinations. No matter how much they try to twist the facts.
      Just horrible. I wish they would be stoned.

  9. Sheryll · · Reply

    I just watched the movie and cried many times throughout it. I tried to look up exactly what happened but different sites say different things. Does anyone know if the school is still open? Are the same abusers still teaching there? Any if so, what parents in their right mind would continue sending their children there after something like that? Well, I don’t know if anyone has that answer… but what is the whole story? Also, in the movie there were boys being abused, too. But, in things I found online I have only seen the abuse of girls being mentioned. Does anyone have more details? Anyway… the movie made me sick to my stomach and those kids who were acting were amazing and it seemed so real. I know the story must be told, but I hope the kids who played those parts in the movie aren’t traumatized from playing those roles because the acting was so realistic.

    1. The Inhwa school is closed this year. The foundation that was in charge of the school was resolved and all their properties were handed over to its regional education board. All abusers, as far as I can recall, are finally punished now. In fact, court delivered 12 years of imprisonment to the administration office chief, the last serious offender, this week and I guess that wraps up the whole incident, at least in the judicial system’s part. Thanks to many, especially the author of the bestseller novel ‘Dogani’ who has played the most critical role by disclosing the whole inhumane crime in her novel and, joined with the publisher of the novel, donated 100M KRW, a non-profit organization has been setup to help those abused (they are not children anymore, they are all grownups and need jobs) rejoin the society. The first coffee shop under the brand ‘Cafe Holder’ opened last year! (You can see the opening of the first shop in the video footage here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubgvzLrJ6TA)

      1. Sheryll · ·

        Thanks for the info but one part was missed, although I don’t know if you know the answer. I asked if boys were abused as well because, just like the girls, they were a major part in the movie, but in articles I read, only girls were mentioned. How accurate was the movie to the actual events? I am looking at a future of working with abused children so I can do a small part in preventing things like this from happening or at least help children who have been, or are being, abused. So sad 😦 I am glad the case was re-opened and the abusers are getting a more harsh punishment. It’s a shame anyone had to go through what those kids went through.

      2. If Park was convicted and Kim died, what happened to Lee? What was his sentence? Please tell me that he got more than the “months with probation” bullshit?

  10. I just recently saw this movie. I can not fathom how the victims are dealing with the mental and psychological abuse. It is events such as this that makes me become more strengthened each day to work towards helping people. There are people that are being ignored, treated like dirt as though they are objects that have no soul. We as a people should ban together and work towards helping out one another. We are all one race, no matter how much or little pigment one has we are all one human race with different qualities that still binds us together as one. We need to remember that, and remember that the seeds we plant now are what will grow and shape our future. It’s best that we sow great seeds and not spoiled fruit. After seeing this movie it has me disgusted,weakened as well as helpless. I know that Jehovah God will ALWAYS PREVAIL, we must all keep our faith strong. Just remember faith is DEAD WITHOUT WORKS. So let us not be dead, yet ALIVE, we have a voice-let us be heard. One person building an empire would take decades, when the multitude gathers it takes less than a month or so, let us form as one multitude gathering for the same reason: To better ourselves and not let the World change us (as quoted from the movie “Silenced”). Livvy, if you find out how to help others for the greater good, please let me know, I too, find comfort in helping others. It breaks my heart and soul to the core to witness evil. If you honestly have received any information please notify me as well.

  11. I just watched the movie today and words cannot described how I feel. My heart felt like it was ripped right out of my chest. Having two little ones of my own I would go to the end of the World for them. Tears poured out of me hearing how the children were describing their horrific encounters with their molestors. Truly monsters! How could these horrible animals do that and get away with it! The justice system failed greatly and it showed how little they do to protect the innocent. Well after that being said, the Lord himself will be the one to take their fate and send them to hell. The movie was very painful to watch, the scene with that poor little boy being beaten repeatedly…beyond emotional to even think or describe. I hope all the innocent people who bravely over came the heinous crime have found peace and happiness. Please pray for them and those children who lost their lives. Amazing movie and a must watch “Silenced”.

  12. this came to light in 2005. the movie in 2011. wats going on now? its already mid of 2012

    1. Very quick summary. The school is closed right now. All students were transferred to another facility. The foundation that had been in charge of the school was liquidated and all its property was transferred to regional education board. Those who committed those crimes were indicted and put in jail. Some who were exonerated from earlier investigation were retried based on new evidences after more thorough investigation and witnesses and got imprisoned. Some witnesses came forward at the wake of the huge success of the movie. With the help of the novelist whose mega-hit novel caused all the stir for the Inhwa school incident and the publishing company of the novel, those who were victimized by those teachers are now trying to stand up by themselves. With the fund contributed by the novelist and publishing company, they started a coffee shop brand of their own and opened a shop.

  13. I swear to god this movie made me so angry I barely could control myself. By the end of the movie I was so saddened and pissed I had to know that there was some sort of justice enforced. Whatever so called harsher punishment they got is not enough. Even the death penalty would not suffice. Whatever pain they inflicted on to those kids, they should feel the same pain a thousand folds. If there is a hell then these bastards should be at the most bottom and darkest pit of it rotting away for eternity.

  14. mark martinez · · Reply

    These animals do not deserve to live. these are not human, they are animals….every single one of them.

  15. This is completely disturbing. I just watched the movie and continued to research on it and it brought me here. I definitely think that it’s unfair that they only get 1-2 years when those kids went through that abuse and pain for about five? I think another hard part to take in is that they called themselves Christians. Misleading those that don’t know Christ and giving God’s followers a horrible name. But please remember that just because one church stumbles and fails, that does not mean every believer is just as hypocritical like them. I’m Christian, and learning about this is extremely heart breaking to me. But some use Christianity as a cover and to get away with things (like the principles and other staff..). And I want to apologize to anyone that has encountered a person that says they follow Christ, but don’t act like Christ.. Please pray for the kids, families and friends that had to go through this and especially for the kids that are still going through any kind of abuse. A past like this leaves a deep scar in their lives.

  16. Amrita Ram · · Reply

    Are the petitions still up? I’d like to sign it, if Internationals are accepted.

  17. Well, according to wikipedia they reopened the case and sentenced one of those people to 12 years of imprisonment. Once he gets out he has to wear an ankle bracelet for 10 years. So, fingers crossed that whoever wrote that article had a reliable source.

  18. I saw the movie two days ago. I have to confess, I saw the film for the actor, Gong Yoo. Let me just say that I was traumatized by the movie. I couldn’t shake it off. I kept on having visuals of the abused children, especially of the two brothers. The little one resembled my son and I just couldn’t stop thinking without crying. I was so angry at the lack of law. the lack of humanity, and greed! I questioned God, as to how He would let this happen. Can’t He hear their cries ?

  19. As far as I’ve heard and read that the city of Gwangju shut down Gwangju Inhwa School in 2011. The beast were sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. The movie caused a massive uproar in South Korean and the government created the Dogani Bill- the law so that teachers who committed sexual crimes were fined 1 million won or given more serious punishment-expulsion from the profession. IN addition, govt also inspect schools nationwide for people with disabilities to ensure no inhumane treatment is or has occured.

    The movie greatly disturbed me to the point of insomnia. I was disgusted, but felt so grateful to the people in South Korea who demanded equality and justice. I was ashamed to be human while watching it, espeically the end, but knowing that this stirred up ACTION and people ACTED, I am proud to be human. But I still can’t fathom the heinous and brutality that human beings inflict upon each other. I will never understand..


  20. I just saw the movie. It was entirely heart-rending, yet it allowed me to heal in some ways. I too experienced anal sodomy and vaginal rape by a respected city government when I was just two years old. The famously respected man was a higher up in the New Jersey Port Authority and an upstanding member of Jersey City’s City Council as well as my grandfather. The problem of sexual assault and physical battery against vulnerable and trusting children is epidemic worldwide. If we want to make a real difference, then more often we must be willing to intervene, report crime, help when we see, hear, or suspect abuse. I laid in a basement for two weeks bloody, soiled, screaming, and alone. I watched neighbours walk by the cellar windows, stop on the sidewalk at the sound of my screams, then continue walking despite my screams. I’ve often wondered how my life would have turned out had someone stopped and turned to help me. I don’t necessarily hold stock in a corrupt system of justice. Clearly, New Jersey still grapples with its legal and legislative system today (look at the unending litany of claims coming to the fore now about Chris Christy). I take personal hope in knowing that some people DO exist who would stand up and question, report, challenge, or reach out to defend children like myself and the ones depicted in the South Korean film, “Silenced.” This movie broke my heart, but it also strengthened my belief in the existence of genuine, selfless, altruistic love.

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