Singer Ali has apologized for a song about an eight-year-old rape victim that provoked an online storm of criticism and spoken about her own experience of rape.
"I had thought this would be a secret that I would keep to myself for the rest of my life," the 27-year-old singer said, referring to what she said was her own rape at the hands of an acquaintance in 2008.
The young girl, identified as Na-young, suffered injuries so severe that she required major surgery in 2008, and Ali wrote a song about the case that was included on her latest album. Korea's notoriously vociferous online community took to their computers and accused her of depicting the girl as a prostitute in the line, "You threw away your youth and sold your body and soul." Ali said the line in fact referred to the rapist and offered to take her albums off store shelves and destroy them, but this was apparently not enough to placate some bloggers, who demanded she stop singing altogether.
They also took exception to the fact that she did not have permission from the girl’s family to release the song.
Ali said she wrote the song because she herself was raped. "In June of 2008, I was raped by an acquaintance. He hit me in the face, leaving by cheekbone broken and with other serious injuries. I lost consciousness and was taken away in a taxi and was raped." She said the assailant was given only a four-year suspended sentence and 200 hours of community service in a case upheld by the Supreme Court. But he "has yet to apologize for the rape and a civil suit is under way seeking an apology."
Ali said she wanted to console Na-young, who was also raped in 2008, while raising public awareness about sex crimes. She added the song was written in 2008 and was included in her latest album, but apologized for the misunderstanding the lyrics caused. She also asked Na-young and her family for their forgiveness. "I will live the rest of my life fighting for the rights of women and fighting the crime of rape," she added.
Ali on Saturday met the girl and her family and apologized to them in person.