Seung, Torture Survivor from North Korea
Seung is from North Korea where being Christian and being gay are not tolerated. Seung is both. He was arrested at a prayer service in the home of a fellow congregant in Pyongyang and imprisoned for ten days in a small cell with a dirt floor. The police repeatedly interrogated, beat, and brutalized Seung while he was at the prison. The other prisoners called him derogatory names and spit on him.
After his release he returned to his hometown where he was required to report to the local police station every few days. The authorities continued to beat, abuse, and publicly humiliate him. Seung found it impossible to sleep due to the reoccurring nightmares about his beatings and public humiliation. Deep depression and loss of trust made relationships with his family strained and turbulent. He thought many times about how he might take his own life so that he could escape the state sponsored torture of his country. Instead he chose the possibility of hope and fled his homeland.
After a harrowing four week journey to escape North Korea, he made his way to the port of Osaka in Japan and from there he managed to board a ship to the United States. After he arrived in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, he was told about PTV from a fellow Korean living in his apartment complex.
While Seung was finally safe in America, he had extreme anxiety, hyper vigilance and suffered from pain and numbness throughout his body. He still could not sleep or find relief from his violent dreams. Seung turned to PTV and received a full range of specialized medical treatment and counseling support for victims of torture. Our medical team took x-rays and helped heal the physical scars, however the psychological damage he had incurred had made it difficult for him to trust others and form meaningful relationships. Our clinical team helped him re-build his confidence and gain the will to move forward and overcome his nightmares and difficulty with sleeping. His PTV social worker enrolled him in English classes and linked him to legal services to help him with the complicated asylum process.
Today, Seung is steadily gaining back his confidence and the determination to build a new life here in the United States. He has found new friends who accept him for who he is and he is very active with his new church.
Will you help a torture survivor like Seung with a donation to PTV’s life-saving work?
The name, image and indentifying characteristics of some clients may be changed to protect client confidentiality and the safety of family and friends that still live in the client’s country of origin. Stories used with client knowledge and approval.