Korean Woman Imprisoned for Biting Alleged Rapist’s Tongue Off in 1964 Wants New Trial

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A woman in South Korea who was imprisoned for biting the tongue off her alleged rapist more than five decades ago is now seeking a retrial.

In 1964, then 18-year-old Choi Mal-ja was sentenced to six months in prison for committing “grievous bodily harm” against the 21-year-old man identified only as Roh.

Now 74, Choi will be pleading self-defense, which was the same line of defense she pursued in her case as a teenager. According to rights group Women’s Hot Line, Choi is set to submit her request for a retrial at the Busan District Court on May 6.

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During her first trial, she alleged that she was forced to retaliate after Roh forced his tongue inside her mouth. While struggling to fight her attacker, Choi bit off 1.5 centimeters of his tongue, reports the Yonhap News.

The incident purportedly happened late at night near her home in May 1964. Both police investigators and the court that heard her case rejected her story. 

At the time, the judge suggested that Choi marry her attacker if “she had any affection” for him.

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The court eventually found her guilty and Choi’s father was forced to pay Roh compensation in a bid to get his daughter a more lenient sentence. While Choi’s sentence was suspended for two years, she was incarcerated for six months during the trial.

Meanwhile, Roh only faced charges relating to trespassing and blackmail instead of being charged with assault or attempted rape. He was also sentenced to six months of imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Choi, who was inspired to tell her story by the #MeToo Movement, reached out to the Women’s Hot Line in 2018.

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“There will be many women who have lived with resentment, like Choi, stemming from the patriarchal social atmosphere of that time,” a representative from the Women’s Hot Line was quoted as saying.

“She has decided to seek a retrial after 56 years to communicate a message of courage and self-esteem to such women.”

Feature Image via SBS (AllKPop)

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