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When motherhood turns monstrous

Posted November. 26, 2012 07:49,   


Motherhood can drive women into doing illegal things. A case in point is the mother of a medical school student at Korea University who sexually harassed a female classmate when she was drunk. The mother handed out fliers to her son`s classmates that falsely claimed that the victim had a personality disorder to avoid having her son go to prison. The mother must have done this out of her sense of motherhood. She must have tried to avoid the horrible secondary damage to the victim and her family in the name of motherhood. On the day the mother began serving her one-year prison term in August, she must have worried more about her son than herself.

Being enslaved by motherhood goes beyond class. A 50-something woman who robbed a convenience store in Seoul Wednesday said she did it for her son, who ran up tens of thousands of U.S. dollars in gambling debt. The special counsel who probed the scandal over the president’s retirement home said the culprit was the first lady’s distorted sense of motherhood. She said, “I bought the land under my son`s name for his future (in violation of the Act on the Registration of Real Estate under the Actual Titleholder’s Name). Should he fail to repay the 600 million won (552,740 dollars) borrowed to buy the land, I will sell our house in Nonhyeon-dong (a southern Seoul neighborhood) to help him repay the loan (illegal inheritance).”

The mother of a victim can also get blinded by motherhood. Last month, a middle school student slapped his parent in the face in South Gyeongsang Province under orders from the mother of a victim who was injured by the student requiring five weeks of hospitalization. The mother claimed that since his mother and father failed to be good parents, they should be hit on her behalf. She was sued by the parents, who claimed that she forced their son to hit his parents. “Don’t Cry Mommy,” a popular Korean movie, is about a mother who sought revenge for her daughter, who killed herself after being raped by students at her school.

The award-winning Korean film “Mother” also deals about motherhood gone to the extreme. The mother tries to save her son after he is suspected of murder, and in learning of her son’s crime, she kills the witness. Her son is released after a successful cover-up and a mentally disabled man who grew up without a mother is charged. In the movie “Poem,” an elderly woman who raised her grandchild on behalf of her daughter learns that he raped a girl at school and that the girl killed herself. The parents of other sex offenders arrange a cover-up after negotiating with the victim’s family, but the old woman confesses to police and kills herself. The confession and suicide might have been the woman`s apology to the victim. If motherhood goes beyond mere affection for one’s own child, it can turn women into monsters.

City Desk Reporter Shin Gwang-yeong (neo@donga.com)