An eight-year-old rape victim who was left permanently disabled went through surgery that could restore normal body functions.
The girl, alias Na-young, yesterday received the first of a series of operations at Yonsei Severance Hospital to eliminate her need for a colostomy bag, according to her father.
Na-young was beaten unconscious and raped in December 2008 by Cho Doo-soon, who was sentenced to 12 years in jail by the Supreme Court last September.
The violent acts against Na-young, together with Cho`s attempts to cover his crimes, severely damaged her intestines and genitals.
The girl has suffered from serious physical and mental damage ever since the crime but has recently shown signs of recovery, so her family has decided on the surgery to help such changes progress, her father said.
"This initial surgery is about preparing her body for the actual process of implanting an artificial anus," he said.
"If everything goes well, the actual implant is expected to take place this summer."
Even in the best case, however, she will need a few years to adjust to the implant, he said.
The girl`s mental distress has also shown much improvement, according to her family and doctor.
"She has almost recovered from the depression and disorders, and is now like just any other girl her age," said her psychiatrist.
"We will nevertheless have to watch out for possible crises during puberty."
By Bae Hyun-jung