When Yeonmi Park decided to write he story, she knew she couldn’t tell the world everything. Yeonmi was only thirteen when she and her mother escaped from North Korean and made their incredible journey to freedom in South Korea. In Yeonmi Park’s Amazon book, In Order to Live: A North Korean’s Girl Journey to Freedom, Park relieves the pain and suffering she endured on her harrowing journey through the Gobi desert with sex traffickers. The escape from the tyranny of North Korea sent her into another world that was just as bad.
When Park sat down with Reason.com, she admitted that she didn’t tell all in her book. Some of her experiences were too painful to relieve, and the shame of being raped at thirteen left an invisible mark on her that she still tries to erase.
NK News has denounced her story. The government claims Park and her mother were agents of the United States. Other people say the facts in the book don’t add-up, and a few people say Park is lying. But all stories are a composite of truth and what some call lies. Some experts say lies, can be, at times, a combination of a weak memory and the need to adlib to make some sense of the brutal actions that are buried deep in the psyche.
Park’s story isn’t hard to believe. It took strength of character for young Park to survive the journey. She was subjected to non-stop abuse. Starvation and thoughts of suicide were her constant companions. Her mother was her crutch, but she was also brutally treated and sexually abused. Park’s father tried to join her, but he died of cancer before he did, so he never knew the meaning of democracy.
But Yeonmi and her mother know what freedom is now, and they know what being in the spotlight around the world is like too. There are always going to be people that try to discredit a person’s truth. Park told her story so people would understand the dreadful human suffering that is called allegiance in North Korea. Park says that distorted country is the liar.