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Child abuse in a drama is unforgivable

Posted March. 25, 2014 00:29,   


Jeong Seul-gi, an eight-year old girl, lives with her step mother after her birth mother left home. The stepmother abuses the girl rather than embracing to relieve stress from her mother-in-law. The stepmother says, “A liar’s lips must be sewn.” If Seul-gi resists, the stepmother slaps her in the face. When Seul-gi cries, she blocks the little girl`s mouth to prevent other family members from hearing the sound, saying, “You can’t go to your mom and your grandma. You have to live with me.”

Seul-gi’s horrible story is from “A Woman Who Married Three Times,” an SBS weekend drama series written by Kim Soo-hyun. Oh Eun-soo, Seul-gi’s birth mother, is played by actress Lee Ji-ah, Han Chae-rin, the stepmother is performed by actress Sohn Yeo-eun, and Seul-gi is played by Kim Ji-yeong.

The drama’s ratings were a single digit in the early stage. As Seul-gi was more abused by her stepmother, however, the ratings jumped to 16 percent, ranking top in the same time slot. At first, I thought the writer wants to raise the child abuse issue. In her previous dramas, the writer has been praised for taking courage to address sensitive social issues such as homosexuality in “Life Is Beautiful” and an unmarried mom in “Childless Comfort.”

But the writer disappointed me last weekend. Jeong Tae-won, Seul-gi’s real father (played by Song Chang-eui), who later learned that his daughter was abused, asked his wife for a divorce. When his wife confessed that she was also abused by her own father at an early age like Seul-gi, he sided with his wife. He ignored his wife’s child abuse and the drama did not mention on the horrible thing that Seul-gi suffered.

Seul-gi reminded me of a little girl who was beaten to death by her stepmother on a school picnic day in October last year. The National Assembly passed the “Special Act on Punishment of Child Abuse Crime, etc” two months later to make clear that child abuse is crime.

Viewers criticize the drama for failing to catching up with the speed of legislation, not to mention raising an issue ahead of the curve, saying, “I’m angry about the writer who uses child abuse as a tool to raise ratings,” and “It feels like the end of Kim Soo-hyun’s era.” This reporter, the writer’s long-time fan, thinks the same as them.