Victims Of Kang Ji Hwan’s Sexual Assault Tell Their Story + Clarify Misunderstandings
The two women who were sexually assaulted by Kang Ji Hwan personally told their story through a written interview with news outlet Chosun Ilbo.
Warning: descriptions of sexual assault.
The actor was apprehended by the police at his home in Gwangju on July 9 at 10:50 p.m. KST for suspicions of quasi-rape according to the Act on Special Cases Concerning the Punishment, etc. of Sexual Crimes. Kang Ji Hwan was charged with sexual assault against two outsourced staff members who were at his home. It was initially reported that after a company dinner, Kang Ji Hwan and the two staff members went to his home for further drinks. One of the victims stated to the police that she woke up and witnessed Kang Ji Hwan attempting to sexually assault the other victim. It was reported that she also told police that her own clothes were in severe disarray, leading her to believe she was also assaulted.
In the written interview with Chosun Ilbo published on July 16 (and conducted before Kang Ji Hwan admitted to all charges), the victims clarified misunderstandings about the case. The outlet states that as it is a sensitive case regarding sexual assault, the responses of victims “A” and “B” were examined by their lawyer before being sent to the outlet. The answers do not indicate which of the women were replying. While their lawyer has indirectly conveyed their story in the past, this is the first time the women have spoken about this personally.
When asked to describe why they were at Kang Ji Hwan’s home that day, they replied, “We first met Kang Ji Hwan in April while working.” Although Kang Ji Hwan had referred to himself as an “oppa” to the two victims (a title used for the older male friend or brother of a woman), they clarified, “We were not close with him.”
Their visit to his house that day had been their first time there, and there were eight other people present including two managers, a stylist, Kang Ji Hwan himself, and more. It was a gathering that was held in part as a farewell party for one of the victims.
“Unlike what was initially reported, we did not go to a drinking party and then go to his house after he invited us,” they stated. “Kang Ji Hwan often said that he wanted to invite the staff that he usually works with to his house, and so it was a gathering that the staff were notified about in advance and an extension of our work.” A resident in the neighborhood witnessed two young women and several men entering Kang Ji Hwan’s home at about 1 p.m. that day.
It was brought up that people have been questioning why they would go to Kang Ji Hwan’s home to drink. They replied, “Kang Ji Hwan said that his house was used as something like a boarding house for his staff. We were not at all close with Kang Ji Hwan to the point that we would have gone drinking with him separately if it weren’t for work.”
They shared that other people at the gathering left first for personal reasons, and Kang Ji Hwan allegedly said to the two women, “Go after we talk some more. I’ll call you a taxi when you leave.” It was explained in parentheses in their written response that Kang Ji Hwan’s home is a detached house located in Opo-eup, and it’s in a remote location about 3 to 4 kilometers (approximately 2 – 2.5 miles) away from the town center. It therefore was not easy to leave without phoning for a taxi.
“Kang Ji Hwan assigned us a room [to sleep] on the second floor,” they said. “[After we talked] we took Kang Ji Hwan, who was drunk, to his room on the third floor, and then we came back down and entered the room he’d assigned us, where we went to sleep.”
When asked how they realized they had been assaulted, the response read, “Around 8 to 9 p.m., I woke up with the feeling that I was being sexually assaulted. But I really was. I screamed and defended myself. But Kang Ji Hwan immediately committed the crime on the other victim, who was sleeping. I didn’t expect this kind of situation would happen at all, since we were asleep and Kang Ji Hwan had been on a higher floor, instead of in the same room as us. I realized what had happened first and I became very panicked.”
The victims also stated that Kang Ji Hwan had not been in an extremely drunk state at the time. “If he had been extremely drunk, he would not have been able to come down on his own from the third floor to the second floor,” they stated. “Also, both during the criminal act and after it, Kang Ji Hwan was clearly acting in a conscious state. It was apparent considering his attitude towards us and what he said to us.” The victims were not able to share what was said between them.
They also added that Kang Ji Hwan had three hours in which to sleep before he assaulted them, and so they think he had sobered up. “We think Kang Ji Hwan’s testimony [that he gave during police questioning] that he ‘doesn’t remember’ is a lie,” they said.
When asked what they did after the assault, the women stated, “We screamed and protested strongly, and Kang Ji Hwan left the room. We right away locked the door. After we locked the door, Kang Ji Hwan knocked on it and said, ‘Open the door.’ We managed to use a KakaoTalk message to ask for help, and a friend that we were able to contact said, ‘Lock the door and wait until I get there.’ At about 10:10 p.m., after over an hour and a half of being locked in the room, the police arrived at Kang Ji Hwan’s house.”
Many members of the public have asked why the victims didn’t call the police themselves, and they explained that his home was so remote that their phone company’s service didn’t work there. They stated that they had of course tried to call emergency services, but they had no connection, and they weren’t able to call their acquaintances either. It was noted in the interview that one of the victims’ phones has a record of her trying to call acquaintances 13 times. They eventually managed to connect to a WiFi network that wasn’t password protected, and they asked for help using the messenger service.
When asked if they are having a difficult time after the incident, the women said, “It has been painful due to the psychological shock, the secondary harm that comes from the public, and the intimidation from the company. We are receiving psychiatric treatment.” They shared that in addition to themselves, their family is also suffering from malicious comments. “We are considering taking legal action against malicious comments,” they said.
The victims have been described by some members of the public as “kkotbaem,” women who take advantage of men using seduction. They stated, “We are women in our 20s in an unequal power relationship with the perpetrator Kang Ji Hwan. We took part in a company dinner that was an extension of our work, and then we suffered from this. We are not kkotbaem – we are the victims of a sex crime. We ask that you refrain from malicious comments or unfounded speculation until the ruling is out.”
Top Photo Credit: Xportsnews