A Korean high school girl who goes by the name of Ha Eun recently stepped forward to expose her art teacher. According to Ha Eun, a teacher in his 40s from an academy she attends in Daejeon tried to hit on her. Given the significant age difference. Ha Eun struggled to be respectful at first, while later becoming disgusted by his continued pursuit. The matter blew up after she exposed him on social media, stirring the outrage of Koreans.
Ha Eun’s long post detailed the “hell” she endured thanks to her teacher.
Every day was like hell for me. Mr. ___ from ___ Academy in Daejeon. Now, I’m so disgusted that I feel like throwing up just by saying the word ‘teacher.’
You shouldn’t have said ‘I love you or ‘I like you’ to your student who is not only more than 20 years younger than you in your forties but also a minor. Even if you felt romantic feelings, even if you saw me as a woman, it was something you should not have done. You should not have mutilated my pure emotions of respect and like for you as a student.
I had been deliberating about speaking up regarding my discomfort in case it would be disadvantageous to my college entrance. You should not have acted in a way that would harm my college entrance, which is very important to me.
Thanks to you, my long-standing anxiety worsened, and I had anxiety attacks at the academy. When you asked me what was wrong, I was afraid you would start putting me at a disadvantage. I simply trembled in fear and could not say it was because of you. You killed me a few times over like that.
I write this post hoping that there will be no other victim. I desperately hope that no other student will have to be tortured by this overwhelming fear as I have.
— Ha Eun
She accompanied her post with multiple screenshots of the text messages between her and the teacher.
- The teacher: “I was so worried about you [omitted] and it was such a shock that I wanted to help. It wasn’t that I was treating you like a patient, neither was I pitying you. It’s right to say that I did begin having romantic feelings for you for some time but I tried not to cross the line. I had many worries, such as if I would appear too unfriendly or if I would pressure you. I like liking you and nothing will change. Just treat me comfortably, Ha Eun.”
- Ha Eun: “So you’re saying that you see me as a woman.”
- Teacher: “It’s true that I see you as a woman but I’m saying that my responsibilities are my priority, and I didn’t want to force you into anything.”
He continued to explain his feelings to her.
- Teacher: “[It’s] okay, Ha Eun. Humans are always stuck and contemplate between understanding and misunderstanding. In order for a misunderstanding to become an understanding, we need love. They said that with love, you won’t seem at fault to the opposite party. I hope that this won’t be a flaw of mine in your eyes. There’s no need for you to be embarrassed at the pain and there’s no need for you to feel pressured. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to bring this up first today as I thought it would be too much pressure on you if I asked first. I was a little taken aback yesterday so I didn’t know how to respond and froze up. Hmm… I just like Ha Eun the best.”
- Ha Eun: “Oh… No, there’s no need for you to feel sorry. Thanks for the kind words. But teacher, at which part were you taken aback? As your student, I really like you and respect you! If the love you have for me is that of a teacher towards his student, then I’m really thankful. I’m saying this in case this was the part you felt taken aback at.”
When he confessed his love for her at first, Ha Eun thanked him politely. She had been trying to show her respect for him as a teacher. She had also initially thought that he meant the love from a teacher to a student.
- Teacher: “I love Ha Eun so much.”
- Ha Eun: “Gasp, thank you. It’s too much.”
When she voiced out her concerns, he suddenly became defensive.
- Teacher: “How can a person’s feelings change so quickly?”
- Ha Eun: “Teacher, do you think it logically makes sense for a man to tell a minor, who is over 20 years younger than him, that he likes her as a woman whenever he speaks?”
- Teacher: “That’s why I just kept it to myself.”
- Ha Eun: “Okay.”
- Teacher: “Did that make you so uncomfortable?”
- Ha Eun: “Yes, I was uncomfortable.”
- Teacher: “So that’s why I said that it wasn’t like that from the start and that I had misunderstood.”
- Teacher: “But why did you just leave without meeting me?”
- Ha Eun: “I didn’t feel the need to meet you at such a late hour.”
- Teacher: “Oh.”
- Ha Eun: “Can’t you just text it, teacher?”
- Teacher: “I’m someone who originally doesn’t text more than 2 lines. Because there is always a way for misunderstandings to rise up from words. You can say that I’ve basically done all my texting for the year.”
- Ha Eun: “You might not think much of asking to meet up at night but society doesn’t see it that way and neither do I.”
- Teacher: “Did I do anything to make you hurt or upset? Even if I do something that isn’t right by societal standards, would I ever do anything to hurt you? I’ve stayed up with a student to write a cover letter through text and there have also been instances where students ask me to look over their drawings at dawn.”
- Teacher: “Don’t think of it that way, Ha Eun.”
- Ha Eun: “I think that such things can be acceptable since it directly relates to college entrances. I have clearly told you that you need not pay special attention to me from now on because I have many people that I can tell if I’m uncomfortable.”
Ha Eun continued to reiterate her discomfort to him. However, the teacher continued to disregard her feelings.
- Ha Eun: “But you just asked how a person’s feelings can change so easily, right? That means you still have feelings for me now.”
- Teacher: “There’s no need for you to hate me. I don’t intend to make you uncomfortable.”
- Ha Eun: “How can I not be uncomfortable?”
- Teacher: “Oh.”
- Ha Eun: [deleted message]
- Teacher: “It’s just because I was worried that you didn’t go home.”
- Ha Eun: “I told you to stop but you’re still contacting me and asking me to meet up at a late hour.”
Finally, she explained that he had given her overly expensive gifts, which she returned right away due to their high value. When she had to go back to collect her belongings from the academy, he took the chance to try to give her the presents.
Come around 1pm tomorrow. My meeting may run late so I might be late. You can wait for me. I’ve put your stuff in a shopping bag and there’s not much but it might be a little heavy so bring a backpack. Oh! And there’s also another gift for you so you have to come with much pressure…
Seeing the overwhelming presents and his declaration of love, she blocked him after returning the gifts.
The present was a Swarovski bracelet. I had lost my bracelet of the same brand before at the academy, so he bought one but from a different design. And a Balenciaga card holder worth about ₩500,000 KRW (about $412 USD). There was also a letter saying he loved me. After I checked the contents of the present and letter, I told him I could not accept it and left it back in the same place at the academy. After that, I blocked all means of contact with him.
— Ha Eun
While Ha Eun’s exposé ended here, netizens were reasonably outraged at the audacity of the man.
- “F*ck if my younger sibling experienced that, I would want to f*cking kill him. I even thought about killing him and going to jail.”
- “Ah f*ck”
- “She’s a minor, you f*cked up bastard. A MI!!! NOR!!! How can you have no conscience, you crazy bastard.”
- “Although I’ve seen such professors within the arts industry often, I never thought that it would happen with a lecturer at an academy. Ugh.”
- “He’s crazy. What is he doing to a minor?”
- “I saw this happen around me during my entrance exams to art school. Sigh.”
Ha Eun has not updated her social media since the story went viral. The academy and the teacher’s identities have also not yet been exposed. It is unsure what will happen to the teacher.