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Justice For Airdre's Rape

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"Till it happens to you" - Lady Gaga

My name is Airdre Mattner. I am from Adelaide, South Australia. I am a primary school teacher and am currently completing a contract teaching English in Japan.

It is with a heavy heart that I feel compelled to share my story in the hope that it will bring about much needed  awareness, and ultimately justice. Justice for myself and for others who are not able to take a stand against this.

On the 25th of September while on holiday in Seoul, South Korea, I was drugged, abducted and raped. I had been holidaying with my boyfriend and friend and had decided to stay on there for an extra few days on my own. I thought nothing of it - I have travelled overseas solo many times before. 

I decided to go on a pub crawl that night. I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet some new people and experience some of Seoul's nightlife in a safe environment. That night I was drugged, abducted, and taken in a taxi to a hotel in the middle of nowhere by the man who later raped me.

I recall pleading with the taxi driver to take me to my hostel. He ignored me and continued driving under the instruction of the man next to me.

The next thing I recall is being on a bed in a hotel room. The man was on top of me. I struggled and tried to push him away but was again too heavily drugged to manage anything.

I woke up the next morning completely naked. All my money was gone. My clothes and belongings were torn and strewn across the room.

When I managed to get to a police station, I reported the crime with the help of the hostel manager where I was staying, and a friend.  For the next 10 or so hours I was sent back and forth between the hospital and police sections of the building.

 I was subjected to numerous invasive treatments and tests, including having two women examine and take evidence from my body while my legs were in stirrups and a curtain was in front of me to block my view. I was still in shock and feeling the effects of whatever I had been drugged with.  

I later found out to my horror that the staff did not follow proper Rape Precedures and no DNA evidence was collected from my body.

I then spent hours giving a statement and recounting what had happened. I gave a detailed description of the man. I made it clear that I had never seen or met him before. I was questioned in an often very insulting manner. I insisted that I had not simply passed out from being drunk, that I had been drugged. I gave them details about the pub crawl, bars and hotel I had been taken to.

They concluded with telling me that they would pass on my medical results as soon as they were released, and they would update me on every step of the investigation via email, as I was due to return to Japan the next day.

The next morning, I received a friend request on Facebook. I knew immediately that it was the man who had drugged and raped me. His face will now be burnt into my brain for the rest of my life.  I immediately  took screen shots of his photos and name and emailed them to the police. They acknowledged this email but did not respond to any of my questions about my results or the case.

For the next month I received no communication from the police in Seoul. No medical results. Nothing. I began to fear that I had some kind of deadly STD and this was why they had not gotten back to me. Eventually, after involving numerous Australian consulates (in Japan and Seoul), they were able to obtain my medical results.  

I was told that the police had decided the man who I sent them screenshots of wasn't a suspect because their records "showed" that he wasn't in the country at the time. After getting the report I found it had been falsified. Staff had written on official documents that I had presented saying I had been too drunk and became unconscious and didn't remember anything that had happened. 

For the next few months, I locked myself in my room back at my apartment in Japan and used all my sick leave. Eventually I went back to work.  I have survived on a cocktail of anti depressants, anxiety medication, sleeping tablets and thankfully, the love and support of those around me.

It has now been nearly 6 months. I am still on medication and still have trouble sleeping, with ongoing nightmares and panic attacks. The police, to this day, have done no investigations except for collecting CCTV footage from the hotel where the crime happened, however they have since done nothing with this footage.

We have since found out that the man who raped me is living in London and working for the Metropolitan Police. 

After losing all faith in the police and justice system in Korea, my family and I have decided to pursue justice in London. In May 2016 we will return to Korea to collect the CCTV footage and other evidence and information for this pursuit. We will also meet with a witness who was harassed by the same man two days prior to the incident, and who wants to provide evidence that he was definitely in the country at the time, and had messaged her of his intentions to go to a party in Hongdae on Thursday, the day after I was attacked in the same area on Friday.

My mother and I will then need to fly to London to meet with lawyers there and begin the long and expensive process of taking legal action.

The prevalence of incidents like this, especially involving foreign tourists in Seoul, is sickening. It is horrifying how easy it is to fall victim to men like this who specialise in preying on women in such a calculated and targeted manner. 

According to the Korea Herald:

"For any person, becoming a victim of sexual violence is the worst fear come true. But for foreigners living in Korea, it can have an added level of fear. Language barriers, a lack of information on available services, and the less than stellar reputation of the police all complicate an already terrifying ordeal."

 

"In 2011, 22,034 rapes were reported, according to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office. Of those, 18,591 cases resulted in arrests with a total of 18,880 offenders being convicted. However, only 12 percent of those found guilty, or 2,289, were sentenced to jail time. "

 

"It is impossible to know the true number of victims in Korea, let alone the number of foreign victims, as many who are attacked ― Korean or foreign ― do not report the crime. Based on a 2010 survey by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, it is believed that the sexual crime reporting rate in Korea is about 10 percent... Reasons vary from victim to victim, but some foreign victims say they didn’t report their case because they didn’t believe the police would do anything to help them, while others refrained out of shame or guilt."
http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20130423001036 - used with permission from Emma Kalka, journalist.

 

It would mean the world to me if you could help me by sharing this campaign to help spread awareness and donating if it is within your capability. Every dollar counts.  It is going to be an expensive, invasive and time-consuming journey, but it is one that I want to take so that I can finally move on with my life knowing that this man cannot assault any other women.   

Your donations will go towards funding trips to both Korea and London for myself, the witness and my Mother, ongoing medication and treatment and counselling, and legal representation and related fees in London. I do not expect the target to be reached - Gofundme does not require this for donations to be used. Every dollar will go towards this cause.

 I can only hope that this will set an example for women everywhere who find themselves in similar situations daily. I want to fight. For myself, my loved ones who have already come forward as survivors but were not able to pursue, report or take action on the crime they experienced, and those all over the world who fall victim to this heinous crime every day. Let's stand up, make a noise, and show that these monsters can be made accountable, and this horrifying cycle can be stopped.






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A postscript from my mother to all other mothers –
My heart constantly bleeds for the pain and trauma suffered by my daughter – it is unimaginable that your darling loved daughter could have this happen to them. To every other mother reading this know that all the love in the world cannot stop the evil of what some have done, but all the love in the world can make us stronger and together we must bring an end to the appalling sexual violence that is rape.

Organizer

Airdre Mattner
Organizer
Mount George SA

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