www.groovekorea.com / May 2014 78 Moving forward, fghting abuse together Expat groups are filling the gaps in the sys- tem for their communities by creating safe spaces for dialogue and sharing information. Before she left home, a sexual assault had left Vanessa Sae-hee Burke emotionally shat- tered and disillusioned with her friends, her college, the police and the legal system. To distance herself from the experience, she worked multiple shifts as a counselor at a rape crisis center, in a program for teenagers, and in another program specifically for teenage boys who had been sexually violent. Although the work was helping her heal, she eventually realized she needed a new start. She came to Korea three and a half years ago to live as free as she could from that painful time in her life. (Although Burke was a victim of sexual violence, she prefers not to disclose details of her own case because she doesn’t want to invite comparisons.) She also wanted to help empower other women who had been through similar experiences. Last summer, she cofounded Disruptive Voices with two friends, Rydia Kim and Chloe Lee, to encourage open discussion about sex- ual violence, gender discrimination and other injustices affecting their lives. She said the name Disruptive Voices was a response to the way victims of assault in Korea are treated. “You’re blamed for it, you’re guilted, you’re treated horribly for it, you’re ostracized for speaking forth. We’re tired of being told to be quiet and that ‘Ugh. You’re going to talk about this again? ’” she said. “You’re going to talk about whatever the hell you want. This is something that has changed our lives and caused a big shift. So ‘disruptive,’ because we’re not gonna blend in. We’re disrupting the peace, I guess, or the ignorance.” Burke, a teacher, artist and designer who grew up in the Boston area, has since left the Edited by Jenny Na (jenny@groovekorea.com) INSIGHT ‘stand your ground. knoW that you have sisters around … you’re not alone. … keep fighting, ’cause you’ve got Warriors behind you Whether you knoW it or not.’ — vanessa sae-hee burke