Lee Jin Wook‘s alleged victim of sexual assault has been received a sentence of probation after her not guilty verdict was recently overturned on appeal.
This has been a rollercoaster of a case from the start, where at first it didn’t seem like him being cleared was that suspicious. Then the alleged victim said the police coerced her and she maintained she was sexually assaulted, and she was then found not guilty on false accusation charges that came with a statement from the judge that made Lee Jin Wook being cleared seem dubious. Now her not guilty verdict has been overturned under appeal, interestingly using much the same logic that saw her receive the not guilty verdict in the first place.
On February 7, 2018, the court overturned the original verdict in the case of false accusation and sentenced the woman to eight months in prison with a stay of execution for two years. The court stated, “In order to determine if she can be sued for false accusation, we must first look at whether Oh was compelled or intimidated into sexual relations. It is difficult to completely eliminate the possibility that sexual relations took place against Oh’s inner wishes, but it is also not possible to say that oppressive tactics were used.” The statement continued, “As Oh has common sense, she likely knew the difference between sexual relations that one secretly does not want to engage in and rape that occurs with oppressive tactics. Therefore, Oh’s accusation against Lee is a false accusation that goes against objective truth.” The court concluded, “Since this case did not occur with the intent of extorting money, we recommend a stay of execution to the sentence.”
The ruling strikes me as odd, since it basically restates what the judge who ruled her not guilty did.
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.”
Both agree that it could have been consensual sex (which is why Lee Jin Wook was cleared), that the alleged victim didn’t come forward with these accusations maliciously, and that there was no consent given by the alleged victim. However, one judge ruled that she was not guilty because of the fact that no consent was given, while another ruled that she was guilty because there’s no evidence he forcefully raped her.
So yeah, what I stated about how consent works in Korea before still applies here.
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.
Honestly, the main thing I take away from this case is that what constitutes consent should change. It’s comical that an alleged victim, who both parties agree did not give consent in a sexual assault case, could face jail time mainly because she was not violently raped.