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Report: Army abuse victims with nowhere to turn

Posted August. 05, 2014 01:00,   


The surgeon’s scalpel was aimed at the belly. On top of that, the bullied soldier had to keep a pose of physical abuse where the head is on the ground, supporting the body. Behind that the bully was kicking his genitals. These awful things were done to the victim almost every day. Furthermore, the bullied victim had to spend 24 hours a day in the same space with the abusers.

The victim confided to the only superior officer who could rectify this. All he got was the officer who did not say the situation would be examined and all the bullies penalized. Instead the victim heard that he himself could be problematic, so what would the young soldier do. If a person was subject to this, who would be able to endure this in one piece?

The Korean Army was a hell without an exit when it came to the human rights of soldiers. Upon our coverage, another soldier aged 22, identified by his family name of Lim, was another "Yoon” who was subject to these cruelties and suffered in a division of the Army in October 2012.

We analyzed three recent beatings and cruelties including the Lim incident as well as other cases that are not common knowledge, aside from the bullies. In all the cases, the supervisors tried to hide them or made them seem less serious than in reality.

The soldiers who were beaten and abused inside the barracks had nowhere to turn. In the absence of any external monitoring authority, their pleas for help dissipated while climbing up the hierarchy. When two victims resorted to suicide in the end, the abusers agreed to lie, claiming there were no issues in management.

Upon a 2013 survey of 305 soldiers by the military human rights center, the response that the officers had no real interest in beatings and abuse accounted for 38.4 percent, the biggest portion. According to the result, 29.0 percent of respondents said that the reason the victims ignored beatings or endured was that it was a given result, followed by 22.6 percent saying they were fearful of retaliation.