Korean Law Demystified!

Text Messages Can Make or Break a Rape Case (in Korea)


In (Korean) rape cases where no (real) outward/objective evidence of coercion is presented, (past) text message exchanges (between accuser and accused) can play an important role in determining guilt.

The Seoul High Court recently affirmed a lower court decision which had found a male high school student not guilty of raping a female middle school student (with mild intellectual disability). FYI, Korean law punishes (essentially) as rape, having sex with a disabled person via taking advantage of his/her inability to (properly) resist due to disability.

In the case, there did not seem to be any outward/objective evidence of coercion. So, text message exchanges (between the two) played a vital role. The exchanges were very friendly as if exchanged between boyfriend and girlfriend. Also, it was not really clear whether the male high school student was even aware that she had intellectual disability.

Korean courts often like to consider how the accuser (i.e., potential rape victim) reacted (vis–à–vis the accused) after the purported rape incident. (Well, also because of rampant false accusations here.) In a case I wrote about last year, for example, the court found a man not guilty of raping a 15-year-old mainly because of the friendly way she treated him during their time together. FYI, the age of consent in Korea is (technically) 13.

Of course there’s criticism. Not all victims are able to react/respond like a victim normally does (e.g., Stockholm syndrome).

The counterargument could be that there needs to be proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” in order to put somebody behind bars.

Thanks for reading!

Something I read once: According to one professor, the age of consent being 13 came from old Japan. Japan apparently feared a shrinking population, so they encouraged people to procreate as early as poss…

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