An alleged victim of actor Choi Il-hwa claims that she was not sexually harassed, but assaulted.

Choi il-hwa
Choi Il-hwa image source – Korean Film Council website

The victim herein referred to as “A,” says she was in the same theater group as Choi 25 years ago during an interview on Feb. 26. A said, “In his written apology Choi Il-hwa talked about it as if it were a minor act of sexual harassment. But it was clearly rape.”

A joined the “me too” movement a few days ago, posting comments about concerning current and past events. Notably, when Choi issued his confession and apology, A grew suspicious that the act was not genuine, but a pre-emptive move to prevent the names, and subsequently, the number of victims terrorized by Choi.

In the interview A details the circumstances that lead to the assault:

“It was 25 years ago. I was a 24-year-old aspiring theater actor who had just graduated from college. Later I would be cast as the protagonist for the play “Henequen.” Choi called and offered to help me with vocalization (speaking and singing). Every day at dawn we would practice together in the mountains. We had been practicing for about a week when Choi asked me to drink with him. As we were drinking, he started to make all kinds of comments about me. He said that couldn’t act and criticized me for acting. It was at this point that he suddenly pounced on me and I assaulted there and then.”

“I was 24 years-old at the time. 25 years ago people would say ‘you have to behave yourself,’ to sexually assaulted women. You would be labeled for years. After it happened I was terrified and couldn’t speak. I spent a few days pretending that nothing happened. Then Choi Il-hwa tried to do it again. I screamed at the top of my lungs and with his fist, he punched my face and knocked me out.”

The Aftermath

However, while the violation happened over two decades ago, the aftermath of the event has affected A’s entire life.

“I couldn’t continue my life in theater, because of that I have so many regrets. Although I had just become an actress and won a leading role in a play, I had to leave the stage. Right now I have a 24-year-old daughter. If I look at this child, I think she is so young. I was the same age when I was harmed (by Choi Il-hwa). How painful it must have been for such a young child. It is disgraceful that I could not reveal what had happened at that time. Back then I was terrified.”

Now on the verge of turning 50-years-old and living with breast cancer, A said, “Before I die, I would like to receive a sincere apology directly from Choi Il-Hwa.”

On February 25, Choi Il-Hwa acknowledged and confessed to allegations of sexual harassment, including sex scandal during a play several years ago. However, given Choi’s prolific acting history, it is hard to say that his apology was a reference to A. Further, in addition to his apology Choi said that he would resign from his position as the chairman of the Korean Association of Actors.



Original article

Translated by O.C