She escaped N.Korea, but 'raped' by South's spies

She escaped N.Korea, but 'raped' by South's spies

She ran away from her home in North Korea six years ago to find a safe haven in the South.

But it was after meeting a South Korean spy, she says, that another nightmare began.

Lee, who we're only identifying by her last name to protect her identity, was raped by the man -- according to the defector and prosecutors.

"I was mad at myself, I should have defended or fought with a knife, but I was just unable to fight back when they did that to me."

She may not be alone.

More than 72% of North Koreans resettled in the South are women and at least a quarter of them encountered sexual violence in the South, but less than 10% sought help, the gender equality ministry found in a 2017 survey.

In Lee's case, the suspected abuser called himself Dr Seong. She says he was a mysterious man, and like a father figure to help her start a new life.

Seong paid her for info. She had previously worked at a military institute in the north.

He also helped her reconnect with her brother, who was detained by secret police in North Korea.

But eventually Seong and a colleague, identified by the name Kim, began to sexually abuse her.

She says it lasted a year and a half and she was pressed to get two abortions and suffered severe distress.

"After all, they were the first people that I trusted, respected and relied upon here in the South."

Military prosecutors this month indicted the two men, a lieutenant colonel and a master sergeant with charges of sexual assault and rape.

But both men have denied rape, according to the chief military prosecutor. They are said to say it was consensual.

Lee's lawyer, Jeon Su-mi, blames the system for enabling agents to take advantage of vulnerable defectors.

"The women can't say no, they have to obey and have to go out at midnight if they are requested to. The South Korean surveillance system on North Korean defectors has absolute power like God, even if they are just government employees here."

Defectors have complained recently that the government of President Moon Jae-in, who has made improving ties with North Korea a priority, is failing to provide refuge by ignoring rights, stifling political activity and deporting some escapees.

from Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines