Methods: The purpose of this research is to find the correlation between female North Korean defector’s sexual victimization prior to entering South Korea and suicidal ideation, and test for the mediating effects of post-traumatic stress symptoms. For this, it utilizes survey data from, “Research on Customized Supporting for violence victim North Korean Female”, conducted by Yonsie University’s Graduate School of Social Welfare, commissioned by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. Excluding 3 insufficient surveys, a total of 155 surveys were analyzed. In the data analysis process, SPSS 18.0 was used to conduct multiple regression analysis using the bootstrapping mediation methods and SPSS process to verify the significance of the mediator effect.
Results: The main summaries and result are as follows: (i) 31.2% of North Korea female defectors were subject to sexual violence before entering South Korea; (ii) Among them, 27.9% were victims of trafficking victims, and the frequency of victimization was twice as high in China and other third-party states, compared to that which occurred in North Korea; (iii) 45.2% of female defectors engaged in suicidal ideation and 84.9% had one or more than one post-traumatic stress symptoms; and (iv) the post-traumatic stress symptoms showed complete mediating effect on the relationship of sexual victimization and suicidal ideation.
Implication: These findings suggest the need for the expansion of mental health support programs for female North Korean defectors after entering South Korea, as well as for practical intervention plans to manage post-traumatic stress symptoms related to sexual violence.