Korean Law Demystified!

How Rape is (Still) Determined in South Korea…


Last month, the Seoul Central District Court acquitted a woman of raping her husband. Case number: 2015고합968.

The facts:

Her husband wanted a divorce but she didn’t. So one day, she (and her female friend) ambushed + illegally confined her husband in an officetel room. They used duct tape and cable to tightly bind/tie parts of his body. The husband could not move for a long time. Finally at night, the woman allowed her husband to lie down on the bed (still bound). She then took off his trousers, fondled his genitalia, and then performed oral sex. (Her husband told her stop.) She then climbed on top of him to have sex. Afterwards, the two discussed why they had grown apart…

Why the acquittal:

The court felt the woman did not actually use violence or intimidation as a means to have sex. The husband did say no, but he could have resisted if he had really wanted to. The prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt there was a “lack of consent” (meaning there could have been consent).

What’s interesting about this case is that the court did find the woman (and her accomplice) guilty on the counts of illegal confinement and coercion. But not rape. Thanks for reading!

FYI: In Korea, acquittals can be appealed by the prosecution, so they could still be found guilty (of rape) by an appellate court.

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