Lee Jin Wook‘s sexual assault case has been all over the map from the beginning, and by the time he was found not guilty almost a year ago, I couldn’t see enough evidence to think there was anything fishy about the verdict. However, that was later thrown into doubt a bit when the alleged victim said the police coerced her into a confession and she maintains that she was a victim of sexual assault.
Now it’s come out that the alleged victim was also found not guilty, her of false accusation. That doesn’t seem to mean much in theory, but the court ruling was what struck me.
The full bench stated, “There is room for suspicion that the two people had consensual sex. However, A not wanting sexual relations is consistent with her testimony and there is probability that sexual relations took place against A’s will.” They continued, “Based on Lee Jin Wook’s testimony, there was no asking of consent for sexual relations nor was consent given by A. In light of this, the indictment and crime cannot be proven.”
Um … yikes.
If you’re accused of sexual assault, you definitely don’t want the judge to repeat that you didn’t ask for consent and you were not given consent to have sex with the alleged victim.
“But if Lee Jin Wook admits he didn’t ask for consent and didn’t get consent, then how was he found not guilty before?”
Right. Well again, the “lack of consent” part of a sexual assault case is different in Korea from, say, America.
Normally, “lack of consent” is proven by showing that: the rapist used violence/intimidation (as a means) or the victim was already incapacitated (and the rapist was able to take advantage of that). Here, the level of violence/intimidation is important. –> It must have rendered resistance “impossible or extremely difficult.” This means: If the accuser could have reasonably resisted or ran away at any point, the court is unlikely to recognize rape. Having said “no” (alone) is insufficient. The court will also consider the circumstances under which the individuals entered and left the premises.
So obviously that standard can make convictions of sexual assault quite difficult. Not saying that type of technicality is the only thing that was at play in Lee Jin Wook’s sexual assault case, but based on what the judge has said here, that certainly seems to have played a role.
That’s … well, it’s potentially terrible and not what you want.