‘I’ll keep fighting’: Philippine women keep alive memory of sex slave horrors during World War IIBreaking News
tags: Philippines, womens history, World War 2
Thumbnail image: The bronze statue of a comfort woman in front of the Japanese Embassy, Seoul
Rosa Henson, a survivor of wartime sexual slavery at the hands of Japanese forces, went public in 1992 with her story. She had no idea what would follow.
Almost 1,000 women across the Philippines stepped forward after her with their own accounts of abuse by the Imperial Japanese Army. The women spoke out despite sometimes uncomfortable public scrutiny and even shaming from their own families.
The sad history of Asian women forced to become sexual chattel during World War II — so-called “comfort women” — is most often associated with South Korea, where protests and demands for Japanese reparations have gone on for decades.
But there were more women in other countries occupied by Japan. In the Philippines, they were abducted between 1942 and 1945, then systematically raped by hundreds of men, according to survivors’ accounts.
One organization advocating for survivors, Lila Pilipina, documented almost 200 cases in the Philippines. Now, only eight members are left. The youngest is 89.
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