Chapter 29 - I still love that person

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"What made you say that, detective?"

When Hansol asked, Detective Kang Woo-cheol scratched his head and said, "Well… first of all, this is just a feeling. There is also a principle of presumption of innocence… Usually, I see a lot of cases where the victim gets paranoid in such situations. The woman's point of view is misinterpreted, or… even if they are living together, GHB isn't there, the results aren't out, and the man is a drug addict… wouldn't it be common sense to corner the man?"

"Right. Well, I am not saying that it is the woman's fault, but somehow I want to cast a vote for Woo-cheol's words. Maybe there is a sense of victimization?"

Hansol spoke again after those words.

"Now, let's go back to the movie 'Gaslight.' The woman hears about what her husband saw and experienced, but she does not believe it. Actually, the husband made it all up, but the woman started to consider what her husband was claiming, making her question her sanity and gradually becoming insane. As her self-esteem is undermined and her intellect deteriorates to the worst state possible, that is where gaslighting comes in."

"So Doctor Im sees this as a gaslighting in dating violence? The victim's statement and the suspect's statements are brief… but aren't we jumping to conclusions?"

Team Leader Woo-jin was right. It was too hasty to conclude this as gaslighting right away when they still had to proceed with a proper investigation.

However, Hansol remembered and showed a part of the victim's statement in the file.

[…He was drunk, and he hit me when I came in. Of course, that always happens in a place people can't see. Then, the next day, I begged him that I was wrong. Sometimes he puts ecstasy in my drink. He says I'm a drug addict, but I believed things would be different for me. Actually, it looked like I was really doing it. One day, he started to hide private matters from me. When I began to doubt things, he turned _ crazy _ at me. I refused to have sex every time it happened, but the next day I wouldn't remember anything.]

"This is what I focused on. He became enraged when she began to question. Simple gaslighting is involved. This is the beginning of gaslighting. When you doubt yourself, you are the wrong person; when you get skeptical of it, you are the wrong person. Gaslighting does not have to be elaborate. Self-esteem is certain to diminish from this point on."

"Hmm… this is the first time we have no choice but to summon the victim and suspect to listen to their sides. The only clear evidence is that the man is a drug addict…."

Knock.

At that time, Team Two of the Violent Crimes Unit came in. Team Leader Woo-jin asked them what was going on. Then, the Unit of Homicide detectives answered that the suspect in the dating violence case was involved with drug distribution.

This made the case complicated.

"So… it is related to the drug distribution. Then, did the Prosecution decide to leave the suspect to catch him in action?"

The Team Two members nodded at the question of Woo-jin. It was questionable, considering it hasn't been long since the CIF even took this case.

"Even so, we are investigating a dating violence case… Huh. You're now discarding us since we're of no use anymore?"

"We really think profiling is necessary for this case, so we passed it to you… However, as soon as we turned it over, the Drug Investigation Unit got a call… we were upset too."

Hansol interrupted their conversation. Even though the suspect and the drug distribution are related, the dating violence case will not be dropped. Because the case had already been filed and the victim didn't withdraw her complaint, the investigation had to be continued.

"The victim, Kim Dohwa, hasn't withdrawn her complaint in the case. Failure to withdraw the complaint means that the investigation will continue. The dating violence case and the drug case can be handled separately."

The other members of CIF also agreed and nodded at those words.

"Then, first, let's schedule the attendance of the victim and suspect. Wait, we already have one?"

"Well, the victim is here… the suspect is also being questioned. However, since there's also the drug case, I think we will have to coordinate the schedule with the Drug Investigation Unit."

"Let's do that. I will analyze the documents a little more."

"I trust Dr. Im! Our genius profiler!"

Hansol nodded and left the conference room.

He then sat somewhere else and began to read the documents one by one. As Detective Kang Woo-cheol says, there was paranoia. There were several parts of the statement of Kim Dohwa which pointed to it.

For example:

'_ I still love him. but he doesn't believe me.' _

'_ He thinks I'm lying, but I am telling the truth. I indeed love him, but he raped me. He sexually assaulted me. He needs to be punished.' _

These statements were swaying from one direction to another.

In addition, some parts could be considered gaslighting. It was stated that she lived with the suspect, Lee Wanjae, who was becoming more addicted to drugs, and there were even moments when Lee Wanjae repeatedly said, _ 'You taught me drugs.' _

[People say I'm a drug addict, but I am not. It's just that my roommate does drugs. I am clean. I will tell you a hundred times that I am clean. However, I hear people gossip about me whenever I go out on the street. I went through all of that. I went to the hospital to get treated, but it was no use.]

Hansol underlined the part with a highlighter. It was a statement that there was a scene in which everyone talked about them. This is often someone a victim goes through. In fact, many research papers show that people aren't actually interested in others.

In particular, in the case of drugs, it is impossible to confirm that one took a drug unless they saw them in action, their condition changed because of the drug, or they took a drug test. Only after taking the test can they know if one did drugs.

'… I'll have to take a look at psychiatric records.'

They believed that the psychiatric medical records did not exist, but the records for Kim Dohwa did exist.

'Anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia… Was this all because of living together? In particular, in 2019, when it was reported that there was only 'depression' in her initial medical records, they then started to live together on a full scale. Symptoms of schizophrenia began to bloom.'

It was clear what the case was pointing to. The victim, who has been living there since 2019, developed depression and schizophrenia and began to have hallucinations, believing that someone was attempting to harm or reach her to criticize her.

'Then let's look at the suspect.'

Hansol, who roughly analyzed Kim Dohwa's file, took the files of Lee Wanjae.

Lee Wanjae had 4 criminal convictions for drugs. Charged with drug trafficking, smuggling, and drug use.

Lee Wanjae's records proved that Korea is no longer a drug-free country.

"Doctor, did you analyze the files of the two?"

At Jung Yu-mi's words, Hansol nodded.

"I've only looked at the victim's record at the moment. As you know, there is a need for a female police officer required to be present for sexual offenses and dating cases, right? Inspector Jung, you might have to be there. The victim still suffers from severe mental illness… she could be in a bit derailed state."

Inspector Jung had a heavy expression.

"I am fine, but… I don't think the suspect will follow through. He is a drug addict… and looking at the way he acted, I can guess that—"

"Don't worry. I will handle it. A complaint about dating violence was filed first, so it's already resolved. Please focus on receiving the statement while tapping into the victim's intentions."

"I understand. If so, can I take the victim's file?"

"Here."

Hansol proceeded to look at Lee Wanjae's records. Lee Wanjae denied doing anything wrong. He stated that there was no need to take drugs like GHB among lovers living together, that they were still together because they loved one other, and that he had been drug-free for a long time.

'… if that was enough for the Drug Investigation Unit to go, Lee Wanjae must have done everything he could by now to avoid drugs from being found in his body.' And there's a chance he vented his rage on the victim. But… one issue remains: why did the victim not flee? '

Stockholm Syndrome1 flashed through Hansol's mind. Someone is emotionally assimilated by the criminal who torments and kidnaps them.

Perhaps Kim Dohwa was close to this mental state right now. She regarded her feelings as love, mentally tormented herself, and was able to forget things and live as it is.

"… inspector, please make this case move as fast as possible."

Inspector Jung then stated that she had called the victim.

"The victim seems a bit anxious. She keeps asking if she can proceed with this… she must be stressed out. She was worried that her complaint would be withdrawn."

"We have to make sure that it won't happen. With our CIF team, Lee Wanjae must be brought to court for dating violence before the Drug Investigation Unit charges him."

"… ah, wait. The victim is calling again. Hello, yes, Miss Kim Dohwa…"

Inspector Jung answered the phone on the spot, and her expression darkened.

Hansol had a bad feeling.

"No, you don't have to. We pushed it quickly, and now half of the case is completed, with the rest to follow soon. Do not back down now since the suspect can be brought to court. Just a little more. If you have time, I will come to meet you to earn your trust."

Judging by how she was earnestly requesting, it was likely that the victim was thinking of dropping the accusations.

"Did the plaintiff say she will withdraw the complaint? That she confirmed their love of theirs?"

Inspector Jung was in disbelief. And she spoke on the moment after a sigh.

"Miss Kim Dohwa, please give the police one chance to show what we can do. You cannot be shaken right now. Real love doesn't force drugs on the lover. So be confident…. Miss?"

"…the call got cut?"

Inspector Jung sighed.

Even if it wasn't heard what happened, it was clear the victim didn't want to go through it.

"Sigh… I was planning to put the suspect in court after getting a statement… The victim suddenly changed her words. She wants to drop the charges. Was it settled for money…"

"I don't think it's about money settlement. The victim seems to believe that their love is sincere. Let's try to convince the victim once again. Now it's dating violence and gaslighting, but the crime could turn out bigger if they stay together."

Inspector Jung retrieved her stuff before reporting to the team leader. The team leader instructed her not to depart alone and to take Kang Woo-cheol with her.

As the two were leaving…

"Dr. Im, what do we do now?"

"She said on the call that she would withdraw. However, it is still a verbal withdrawal, so we can head over and get the suspect's statements."

"Okay. I will schedule it."

"Thank you."

Hansol's eye instantly turned blue and returned to its normal brown color.

  1. Stockholm syndrome describes the psychological condition of a victim who identifies with and empathizes with their captor or abuser and their goals. Stockholm syndrome is rare; according to one FBI study, the condition occurs in about 8 percent of hostage victims. – Britannica ↩️

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