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11/4/2018 North Korea (International Christian Concern) – In North Korea, sexual violence has become so widespread and common that it being accepted by society as an ordinary part of life. On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released interviews conducted with women from North Korea who have fled to South Korea for safety concerning the issue of sexual violence in North Korea.

Victims accounted firsthand how men in power use their positions as government officials, prison guards, interrogators, police, solders, and prosecutors to coerce women into unwanted sexual contact. Victims explained how powerful men would force women to engage in sexual behaviors with them or face a slew of harsh consequences.

The number of women who have experienced sexual violence is unknown, since many victims do not report their cases, knowing the North Korean government will not do anything about it.

One women said that “market guards or police officials could ask me to follow them to an empty room outside the market, or some other place they’d pick. They consider us [sex] toys. We [women] are at the mercy of men.”

It has become so common in North Korea, that it is now seen as an ordinary part of life. Many of the perpetrators do not believe what they are doing is even wrong.

This reality remains true for many Christian believers imprisoned in North Korea today. In a study conducted on sexual violence within the prison system 37.7% said it is a common occurrence, with 15.9 saying it was a very common experience. In one prison 33 women claimed they were raped, 51 said that they witnessed a rape, and 25 said they heard women being raped.

For interviews with Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].