[FOUNTAIN]Disclosure isn’t for faint of heartDisclosure was once considered sacred and noble. In the reign of terror, disclosure that overcame fear and brought out the truth was a product of courage.
One of the most memorable disclosures in Korean history was made by a college student who decided to reveal that she had been sexually tortured at the Bucheon Police Station in 1986. Now a college professor, Gwon In-suk was a 22-year-old studying clothing and textiles at Seoul National University. She was arrested for her contribution to the labor movement in Incheon, and when she was brought to the Bucheon Police Station, inhumane torture was waiting for her. The torturer left irreversible, unbearable damage, both psychologically and physically.
Ms. Gwon wanted to hide it at first. If she wanted to expose the torture, she had to first reveal her wound to the world. She was a single female who received the finest education in the country, and she felt like committing suicide. But courageous Ms. Gwon chose disclosure. In the complaints filed by her attorneys, she showed a strong determination to prevent this from happening again, even if it meant her sacrifice as a woman.
Disclosure is a serious decision by itself, but is only a start of pursuing the truth. Harder things await in the days that follow. Ms. Gwon had to take responsibility in proving her words. All related authorities, from the Blue House and the National Security Planning Agency to the police and prosecutors, tried to conceal or dismiss the sexual torture case. The prosecutors announced that the police interrogators had admitted to having physically and verbally assaulted her, but not sexually. To see her interrogators finally convicted, Ms. Gwon had to devote two years of her life. The power of disclosure comes from devotion, sacrifice and personal conviction.
Assemblyman Chung Hyung-keun has made his name in exposures and disclosures. Recently, he criticized his fellow Grand National Party lawmakers for indiscriminately making disclosures. He said, “Even disclosure requires philosophy and morals.” The recent accusations coming from the opposition party aren’t the least bit sacred and even feel comical. It seems that the party is not desperate to reveal the truth and has no sense of responsibility to prove its allegations. The lawmakers have degraded their privilege of exemption from liability given by the Constitution.
by Chun Young-gi
The writer is a deputy political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.