A recent story of a mutilated girl in Busan grabs the attention of the Korean society and has grown to be the angry wake up call for justice–a catalyst for a systematic reform of the law.
A thirteen year old girl fell prey to an abominable vengeance sought by her colleagues. The mother of the victim later reported that it wasn’t the first time these perpetrators had launched brutal attacks on her child and that she was previously slapped, kicked, and stepped on in a karaoke room for receiving a call made by the attacker’s boyfriends.
For reporting such violence to the police who enacted insufficient measures into punishing the adolescents, she was held prisoner by them and abused for approximately two hours with sizzling cigarettes in an alleyway where she laid unconscious. It has been reported that the teenagers made her crawl on her knees by striking down her head with a keen metal pipe, chairs, bricks, and glass bottles and even invited others to sexually harass her. Even when the victim called for mercy and left a conspicuous puddle of blood, the teenagers continued to beat her in a cruel attempt to make her unconscious so that she forgets the incident altogether.
The true shock, however, instigated immediate resentment in the Korean public when the perpetrators showed no sign of penitence for their actions. In order to publicly humiliate the girl, they recorded a live video of verbal threats as well as snapped the crying and bloody girl to their friends on SNS. When words rippled across the medium of such incident, they were thrilled to have been so infamous as the new “Facebook stars”. None of the bullies reconsidered their actions or even showed a slight tinge of regret and guilt for the girl who is still getting critical treatment in the hospital.
The incident in Busan, regrettably, is only one out of thousands of preventable crimes committed everyday stretching beyond the context of Korea to the rest of the global community. One factor contributing to the rampancy of teenage violence may lie in the Juvenile Protection Act which is being wrongfully exploited by teenagers to escape their detaining charges. Even with clear knowledge of the repercussions of their actions, teenagers exploit the loopholes in the laws and can easily get away without full charges proportional to the crime being committed.
Waiting for another crime to happen and another person to get away with it can only cost more lives and futures. It is time to considerably re evaluate the criteria of the justice system, raise awareness of these crimes and collectively call for justice that so many of these victims deserve.