After the Obsession: Jane Trenka

posted: 03/04/14
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Jane Trenka

How has your life changed since your experience?

Over 20 years later, I now live in Korea as one of a few hundred internationally adopted Koreans who have repatriated to their country of birth. I comfortably blend into my environment and am running the organization TRACK (Truth and Reconciliation for the Adoption Community of Korea) which was part of a coalition that changed the law governing adoptions from Korea in 2011. The law was changed to protect the rights of unwed mothers to raise their children (90% of adoptees come from unwed mothers, similar to the "Baby Scoop" era in the U.S.) and protect adult adoptees' rights to access their own personal information.

Why did you decide to tell your story?

I felt that even though I had written about this in my own books The Language of Blood and Fugitive Visions, people still did not understand the issue of my stalking as a terrifying and life-threatening crime. I couldn't write about the stalking very well because of my remaining emotion about the incident, but I also could not not write about it since it had so hugely affected me from the time I was 18-19 years old, and continues to affect me. So I thought that maybe film could help tell the story in a fuller and more realistic way that would impact more people, so they could be aware that this does happen and so that they and their daughters will not become victims. In particular, I think that white adoptive parents who raise their daughters with a "colorblind" attitude need to think about how Asian young women can be racially targeted. If you do not raise them with the skills to identify when this is happening, they risk their daughters' safety. Even if the adoptive family is "colorblind," we cannot ignore the fact that the rest of the world is not.

Can you recommend any resources?

The Lakes Crisis Center in Detroit Lakes, MN was so helpful, and I am forever grateful to them. Here is their website.

The book "Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence--from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror" by Judith Herman was very helpful to me as well.

What did you learn that you would like to pass along?

People should seek help from crisis centers like the one I mentioned, and also meticulously document all events, no matter how trivial they may seem and even if other people don't take the stalking seriously. Save and document everything.

College and university students should seek out resources and keep going higher up the chain of command, even up to the dean, if lower-ranking employees involved don't understand the problem. College students should seek resources both on campus and off-campus, including the local women's shelters and the police and courts, which can issue a restraining order.

Educational institutions have to take this safety matters seriously, from prevention to taking appropriate action when there is an incident, to appropriately disciplining perpetrators.

Finally, if your therapist or counselor does not take the severity of the crime seriously or doesn't believe you, find someone else to talk to.

What are your plans and hopes for the future?

I will graduate with a master's in public policy in this February and hope to be of service to women and children.

Anything else you would like to share?

There are so many tips we can give people to avoid being victims of crimes, but wouldn't it be great if people would just not stalk, rape, and murder in the first place? We need to educate children of all sexes from a young age and also provide them and their parents with services to promote health and eliminate violent behavior.

I dream of living in a peaceful society, without fear.

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