Stars Express Sorrow And Raise Awareness About Child Abuse After Death Of Baby

As public outrage continues over the death of a 16-month-old baby due to suspected child abuse, many stars have taken part in raising awareness about such abuse while mourning her and expressing their anger and sorrow.

Warning: Discussion of child abuse.

On January 2, the SBS investigative show “Unanswered Questions” aired an episode addressing the story of a 16-month-old girl named Jungin. She had been adopted around the age of seven months and passed away in a hospital emergency room on October 13, 2020 after cardiac arrest. It’s described that she was covered in bruises and her injuries included her abdomen being full of blood from a torn organ. According to an autopsy report, the cause of death was abdominal injuries by external force, and the force had caused severe damage to her pancreas. Other injuries reportedly included fractures in her arms, collarbone, and legs. Jungin’s adoptive mother has said that her death was caused by an accident.

The medical team, who suspected that her injuries were due to child abuse and not an accident, reported her adoptive parents to the police. Her adoptive mother has currently been indicted by the prosecution on suspicions of child abuse resulting in death, rather than suspicions of homicide. Her adoptive father has been indicted for suspicions including neglect. Further outrage was sparked after it was revealed that there had been three reports of child abuse made about Jungin in May, June, and September, but no action had been taken.

“Unanswered Questions” and the Korea Child Abuse Prevention Association suggested an online challenge to trend the phrase “Jungin, I’m sorry” in real-time search rankings. The public has been taking part in the campaign, and the phrase reached No. 1 on a major search portal while several thousand posts about it have been shared on Instagram. Many are also writing petitions to call for strong punishment of the abuser.

BTS’s Jimin posted on their fan community on WeVerse on January 3 to take part in the campaign by posting with the “Jungin, I’m Sorry” hashtag.

SEVENTEEN shared a post with the hashtag and the text “We’ll change it.”

Shin Ae Ra, who adopted two daughters in 2005 and 2008, took part by posting on Instagram with the image “Jungin, I’m sorry. We’ll change it.” She wrote, “Biological parents. Adoptive parents. Foster parents. Single parents. Many people become parents easily. But how many people are qualified to be parents…” She shared her concern about other children like Jungin who are experiencing the same thing she did right now. “How much pain they’re going through. How scared they must be,” she wrote. “This is our responsibility. This is my responsibility. What should I do…”

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Han Hye Jin joined the campaign with the hashtag and wrote that she’d been unable to believe what she saw when she watched “Unanswered Questions.” “How could a human being be so evil!” she wrote, saying that she’d had a hard time sleeping because of her outrage and sadness over the abuse. “All day today as well, I’m crying as I read articles about Jungin and think of Jungin who was neglected while feeling all that pain. Baby, I’m sorry. I’m really sorry that adults weren’t able to protect you. In heaven… in a painless place, I hope that you eat and laugh to your heart’s content!”

Uhm Jung Hwa took part with the hashtag and encouraged everyone to participate. She wrote, “The people who cruelly abused and killed this young angel who deserves only love.. Innocent children are dying because of the laws that send them back even after several reports, saying there’s no evidence. They’re getting sick.” She questioned why the laws are so light, emphasizing that children’s lives must be protected and saying that all violence against them must be prevented.

Lee Min Jung shared images including a sketchbook with the writing “I’m sorry, Jungin,” which is signed by her son Junho. Another page in different handwriting reads, “I hope that you will be healthy and happy in that place! The adults who couldn’t protect you are sorry!”

The actress wrote in the caption, “This must not happen again…. I’m so heartbroken…. And it gives me chills…”

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Seo Hyo Rim wrote that she’d been crying for days, adding, “What else can I say.. #JunginImSorry. Your smile was so beautiful.. Turning away because it breaks my heart and it’s difficult for me.. I think that would also be a crime…”

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Byul posted on Instagram with an image that reads, “I’m sorry, Jungin. I’m sorry. I’m so… sorry..” She shared that while she was angry and her hands were trembling, she was trying to think about what she could do for Jungin. “This cannot happen again,” she wrote. “Jungin, rest in peace. I hope that you are not in pain, sad, or lonely in that place.”

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Han Ji Min shared photos of a written petition on Instagram. She wrote, “The reality that we have to face, that cannot happen again, that we really must change now… #JunginImSorry. We will change it.”

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Lee Chung Ah posted a written petition and shared instructions on how others may do so.

She wrote, “I remember being very angry about news about sexual offenses against children last year. We must now hurry to start to make change regarding violence against the helpless and change our society that allows that. Crimes against children are the worst of all crimes. Because they are violence against the weakest, who must be protected. I came across articles and broadcasts about Jungin’s case today, and my heart feels heavy as I write this. I keep thinking about the sight of Jungin at the nursery on the day before her death, who sat and quietly endured her pain without even being able to cry, and her chest that rose and fell with panting breaths and difficulty.”

She shared that she had made submitting a petition her priority that day, and she said she would be grateful if everyone who read her post also took part, ending her message with the phrases “Jungin, I’m sorry. We will definitely change it.”

Park So Dam shared the campaign message on her Instagram and wrote, “I’m sorry for being so late… We will definitely change it.”

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Lee Yeon Hee also shared the hashtag on her Instagram.

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Han Chae Ah posted an image with the phrase “Jungin, I’m sorry.”

Jung Bo Suk shared his outrage and wrote, “Although this is only a small thing that I can do to make sure that another child doesn’t go through what you went through, I’ll try hard. Please become an angel there and be happy.”

He went on to call anyone who commits violence against children a devil. “They must be given a stronger punishment than any other criminal,” he said.

In a post on Instagram, Park Eun Suk wrote about his anger after finding out what had happened to Jungin, saying it must have been so painful and scary for the child, who could not even speak out. “If it had happened in front of me, I would have been able to reach out and help, but as someone living at the same time, I’m so angry that this kind of thing has happened and I still can’t understand it,” he wrote. He went on to say to Jungin that it was not her fault and she only deserves love. He wrote that her death will not go in vain, as it will lead to increased social awareness and be a shield for potential victims in the future, and he wished that she will rest in peace. He ended his post with his hope that people will spare an hour to submit a petition.

Song Ga In wrote along with the hashtag, “Everyone, let’s work together and help” and asked for people to submit petitions.

On January 5, it was reported that Lee Young Ae had gone to visit Jungin’s grave with her family. Her agency confirmed that she had visited the grave with her husband and twin children. They stated, “She heard about Jungin’s case through the news and in grief, she visited the cemetery which is close to her home and commemorated her.”

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Top Photo Credit: Xportsnews

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