Tuesday, January 15, 2019

[Article Translation] Judo athlete Shin Yoo Yong accuses coach of sexual assaulting her since high school

After seeing the courage short track speed skater Shim Suk Hee had when she revealed that she has been sexually assaulted by her coach, another athlete has spoken up about their own experience with sexual assault. 

Shin Yoo Yong began judo when she was 5 years old and it's because her father told her, "You have to be able to protect your own body". She practiced judo every day and her skills soon stood out. She was scouted by Young Sun Middle School after participating at a contest during elementary school and at that school, she met coach G. 

Shin Yoo Yong's skills were good to the point where she was picked as a standby athlete for the national team during Young Sun High School but Coach G was especially harsh on Shin Yoo Yong. If he was even a bit unsatisfied by her performance, he would hit her butt and thighs with a yellow water pipe. The other students in the same athletic department called that pipe 'daikon'. She was hit to the point where if she received permission from the school dorms to go home for the night, she couldn't go to the bathhouse with her mom. 

In 2011, when she was in her first year of high school, she was in charge of cleaning the coach's dorm. That summer, coach G called Shin Yoo Yong over to his dorm - she thought she would be cleaning again. But that day, the coach made her get on his mad and sexually assaulted her. After she was sexually assaulted, he said to her, "You're now just starting to win medals, if you tell this to someone - you and I are over in the judo industry. We have to leave Korea. We have to go to the Han river (t/n: I'm pretty sure this is a metaphor saying they have to die but I'll leave the literal translation)". The sexual assault didn't end that day but Shin Yoo Yong had no choice but to stay silent. She said, "I thought that if I told someone what happened then it would be like what he said, "I have to leave the judo industry." But all I have is judo. "I just need to stay quiet", that's what I decided on." But as Shin Yoo Yong stayed quiet, the number of times coach G called her over became frequent. After graduating from high school to 2015, she said that these incidents occurred around 20 times. 

In December of 2011, Shin Yoo Yong's condition wasn't good so she placed in third place at a judo competition. Coach G asked her if she got her period and she told him that she hasn't started it yet. When they returned to school, he gave her two pregnancy tests and both of the tests said she wasn't pregnant. But still, the next month (January 2012), Coach G took her to an OBGYN and had her get an ultrasound done. 

Starting from when Shin Yoo Yong moved to Seoul in 2015, she no longer had to reply to coach G's messages of him demanding sex and that's because the coach could no longer come visit her house. She occasionally ignored his messages where he asked her not to spread bad rumors about him. But then in March last year, coach G suddenly contacted her again. Coach G's wife who was in the judo industry heard something about Shin Yoo Yong from her acquaintances and started to suspect her husband. Through a messenger app, Coach G wrote, "I'm begging you. I have 500,000 won right now, I'll at least send you this. Can you take it (the money), get over it, can you do that? Just completely deny it [to my wife]. All you need to do is deny it". He then added, "I'm not trying to cover my sins, you're my student and a minor and I liked you. I'm trying to earn forgiveness from you for having those relations." Shin Yoo Yong replied, "It seems like your memories have quite been distorted but I haven't ever done that. You seem to remember how I cried because I was scared and hurt for being forced (to have sex)?" 

Shin Yoo Yong decided to press charges after seeing how coach G try to conciliate with money rather than with a genuine apology. When she submitted her complaint on March 13, she wrote on the complaint, "I'm submitting this complaint, feeling miserable while thinking about how many 17 year old Yoo Yongs there are in this world, thinking about how they're suffering inside again today, how they're resenting themselves instead of the perpetrators, and losing sleep." When she wrote this complaint, she received a text from coach G again saying he wants to 5 million won and apologize. 

Shin Yoo Yong turned in several evidence to the police - text message exchange she had with coach G, recorded phone calls, and even medical documents from the OBGYN. It has been learned that when being interrogated by the police, coach G said that he doesn't recall taking her to the OBGYN but when it was revealed that the OBGYN visit was recorded on the card he used at the card, he changed his words and said, "The coaches sometimes take sick students to the hospital".  

But the police demanded for witnesses to testify. Shin Yoo Yong asked one of her judo peers and a female coach to testify - they were aware of the assault because she told them. But the female coach declined to testify bringing up close relations with the judo industry and she lost contact with the peer who agreed to testify a day before they had to appear at the police station. At the time of the assault, she sent a message to the judo director at Young Sun High School but she didn't receive a response. "Their judo careers can all crumble after testifying for an athlete that quit. It could be because the judo industry is really closed-off..... They must also be scared." As she couldn't secure testimonies, the investigation progressed slowly. The case moved from the police to the Jeonju Prosecutor's Office. The Jeonju Prosecutor's Office had the Seoul Central District Prosecutor's Office take over the investigation of the case. But after two months, there hasn't been progress in the investigation.

During a phone call with the Hankyoreh, coach G claimed that he never sexually assaulted her and they were lovers. Coach G said, "We were the type of relationship where we would date, break up, and date again. Later on, we would call during the holidays and go to first birthday parties. Would this be possible if it was sexual assault?" When asked about why he tried to give her money, he said, "My wife asked if I dated Shin Yoo Yong, she couldn't find out so all I did was give Shin Yoo Yong 500,000 won and tell her (the wife) that we didn't (date). When asked about the 5 million won, he said, "After hearing that she was going to sue for sexual assault, I went to a lawyer and they said that the best option is to relieve her anger and make her not sue. So that's why I gave her the 5 million won and tried to wrap it up, I wasn't trying to cover up sexual assault." But Shin Yoo Yong said, "After quitting judo in 2013, I've never contacted him first and the first birthday party, the judo department's group chat came together to go and I only forcibly went because I thought it would look weirder if I didn't go. I can say it's my fault if there were pictures of us dating or if there's messages depicting that relationship but that's definitely not there." Shin Yoo Yong teared up as she said, "I'm the victim and they clearly know I'm the victim..."   

Shin Yoo Yong then thanked athlete Shim Suk Hee. "I said #MeToo after quitting sports but Shim Suk Hee is an active world-class short track speed skater. Nonetheless, I'm really grateful that she had the courage (to speak out). Shim Suk Hee also said that she was hit since she was young, all athletes experienced that so that's why they never said anything." After 2011, Shin Yoo Yong said a day hasn't passed where she hasn't felt pain. (t/n: You can read about the accusations Shim Suk Hee made in this article - New York Times)

Judo was everything to Shin Yoo Yong. "I was good at it, I liked it, it was also my everything." Shin Yoo Yong lost that judo and the second half of her late teens. All that she hopes for now is that coach G gets fully punished. 

1. [+26754, -100] Shin Yoo Young, thank you for the courage - I'm supporting you

2. [+14996, -71] Instead of revealing the victim's name, reveal the perpetrator's name

3. [+7559, -52] They say there's deep-rooted evil here and there but the bastards who do sports... When they say they're nice, it's all lies. He's just a middle school coach but he's really power tripping dirty.. His wife must know that he's scary... This is what you call trash.  

4. [+4255, -65] Physical education is all the same but especially with sports, our country's field is so small so it's as corrupt as it can get. Is it only the sports side that didn't receive character education, it's severe. Even just by looking at professional athletes who have become well-known, there's many criminals - there's even more if you look further in. 

5. [+2642, -72] Cut the coaches' dicks off

6. [+2105, -12] Because athlete Shim Suk Hee was at the top, the media gave her interest... I wonder how many people were ignored and hurt when they took the courage to speak up but they played sports when they were unknown (not famous) and disappeared... Thinking about it, it's terrible... Seriously... Even if it's late, investigate properly so that the coach can get punished    

7. [+1776, -5] And just by looking at the messenger and OBGYN history, that can be evidence but I don't understand why they're asking her for witnesses - socially, it feels like they're getting lazy about these cases when it's a serious offense....