The Korea Herald


Fundraiser set for victim of Miryang gang rape

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : June 14, 2024 - 11:28

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Banner of fundraiser to support the primary victim of 2004 Miryang gang rape case (Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center) Banner of fundraiser to support the primary victim of 2004 Miryang gang rape case (Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center)

A civic group supporting victims of sex crimes kicked off a fundraiser on Thursday in support of a victim in the infamous 2004 Miryang gang rape case, which has resurfaced recently following multiple YouTubers revealing the information of some of the alleged suspects.

As of Friday morning, over 57 million won ($41,000) had been raised from over 1,400 people in the campaign set up by the Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center at its homepage. One can participate in the fundraising via the pop-up banner on the Korean version of the homepage through various means, including donations by credit card, Kakao Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

The fundraiser has already far surpassed the initial goal of raising 30 million won. The group said all the money raised in is to be delivered to the victim and her family.

It is not clear how long the fundraiser will continue. The group said it will discuss the matter with the victim and her family and decide when to wrap up the fundraiser early next week.

The KSVRC on Thursday held a press conference to reiterate that the primary victim in the case -- a 14-year-old girl at the time of the incident -- did not want and had not consented to the related information being made public. Several YouTubers have recently published videos revealing the personal information of alleged perpetrators in the gang rape, claiming to have obtained the victim's consent.

YouTuber Pan-seug deleted related videos after the statement. Another prominent YouTuber, Narak Bogwanso, also took down many videos that initially stirred controversy. But in the most recent video released late Tuesday, the YouTuber vowed to continue to post new videos.

Kim Hye-jeong, who leads the KSVRC, stressed that the victim never wanted the incident to resurface, as she urged the public to see things from the victim's point of view. "The problem is that (the videos) did not consider what the recent events would do to the victims," she said, once again urging the videos to be taken down.

The victim and her family did not attend Thursday's press conference, but expressed appreciation for the public's concern, along with their wishes that the recent revelation of suspects' information not end up hurting the victims again.

"There had been times when we wanted to die and were depressed, sometimes crying like a crazy person or just lying on our back absent-mindedly, but we will try to get past this. ... We did feel a little bit better when we saw the support of people who we have never even seen. It felt like we weren't alone, and we thank you for not forgetting (about the incident)," the victim and her family expressed in a statement.

(Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center) (Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center)

Considered among the worst sexual violence cases in history, the Miryang incident involved 44 high school boys in the small South Gyeongsang Province city who were accused of physically and sexually assaulting the then-teenage victim over the course of a year. While some of the teens were sent to adolescent correctional institutes, none received criminal punishment, sending waves of public furor throughout the country.

An investigation found that four other teenage girls had also been raped by the perpetrators. While 44 boys are believed to have directly been involved in the sexual attacks, some 75 other teens are also believed to have aided them.