No one takes death lightly. Unexpected death brings sorrow. If the deceased takes his own life, those left behind often are overwhelmed by his death – especially when the deceased was renowned for his achievements. The death of Seoul mayor Park Won-soon brought shock and hesitation to judgment. This is probably why the wave of mourning has continued despite his sexual abuse allegations.
Mr. Park, the mayor of Seoul, was accused of sexual harassment against his secretary on July 8, 2020. He was found dead at Mount Bukhan on July 10 – two days after he was reported missing. Although the motive for suicide was not clearly stated in his will, it can be suspected that he committed suicide due to the pressure of revelation.
As the suspect died, the right of arraignment was terminated, and the investigation was closed. It is because there is a possibility of lopsided investigation due to the absence of the suspect, and there is no one to punish even if the judgment is made. However, there are voices speaking out against the termination of the investigation, asking for the truth to be revealed as long as the victim exists.
When the ruling party – the Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), was asked how they would respond to the victim’s demand for truth ascertainment, they answered with indirect advocacy for Mr. Park: “He is not the kind of person to do such a thing.”, “It is defamation against the deceased”, and “Be polite as the bereaved are in pain.” What penetrates these statements is nothing but a message to remain silent about the incident. There was no consideration for the victim. The coercion of silence has not stopped here.
When the victim planned a press conference, a funeral committee led by ruling party officials asked for consideration so that the bereaved suffering from the pain of parting could spend the whole time mourning. It is nothing but a daunting statement that only shows courtesy toward their political colleagues. Also, the ruling party did not even allow the victim to become a ‘victim.’ The ruling party officials, who used to say that they would always stand on the side of the victims and the weak, used the term ‘the alleged victim who claims to have suffered’ – instead of using the term ‘victim.’
These statements from the DPK were more like an attack rather than support for the weak. They are not in a position where they can mourn the absence of the colleague: they should be handling the case rationally and protect the victim from secondary abuse. It is time to be reasonable to face responsibilities. No one has the right to decide which wounds are endurable and which are not.