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Lim Ruey Yan
The Straits Times
Aug 22, 2023
In the wake of her recent sexual assault at a public event, South Korean performer DJ Soda has disclosed that she was raped when she was six years old. She also criticised the culture of victim-blaming.
The 35-year-old, whose real name is Hwang So-hee, revealed on social media on Aug 14 that she was groped and sexually harassed while performing at the Osaka Music Circus Festival in Japan on Aug 13.
She hit back at netizens who blamed her for wearing revealing clothing in another post later that day.
“Does being sexually harassed mean there’s a problem with the victims?” she wrote in English, Korean and Japanese on social media on Monday.
“Why are you asking the victim for a cause? I think that perpetrators and secondary perpetrators are equally bad. It makes me sad that this is happening in 2023.”
She revealed a traumatising incident which took place when she was a child.
“When I was six years old, both of my parents were working and I was home alone and raped by a robber,” she wrote.
“At that time, I lied to my parents and said that I almost got robbed but I didn’t open the door, because I was afraid my parents would get hurt.”
She added: “The shock caused me to suffer from selective mutism, and I’ve lived my life hiding it without telling anyone about it.”
Selective mutism is an anxiety disorder where a person is unable to speak in certain social situations.
DJ Soda said she has never received any apologies when she was sexually harassed by fellow DJs and was usually told that “it was a joke”.
“I was sexually harassed and molested several times throughout my life, and I thought I had to hide it and live as if nothing had happened,” she wrote.
She was initially worried that her post on the Osaka Music Circus Festival incident would affect her future work in Japan, but the organisers have assured her that they would support her.
According to the Japanese media, two 20-year-old men have turned themselves in to the police over the alleged sexual harassment. The festival’s organisers have also filed a criminal complaint against two men and one woman over the incident.
DJ Soda denied that she was an attention seeker.
“If a person like me speaks up little by little in this way, wouldn’t society’s perception change a little some day?” she added.