Saturday, April 12, 2014

Korean Comfort Women

One of Korea's unresolved issues  is the Japanese failure to acknowledge the use of foreign women as sex slaves for the Japanese military. Japan says it was voluntary prostitution; it is easy to understand how angry these women must be on hearing this distortion of the truth. They are called 'comfort women' and continue to demonstrate in front  of the Japanese Embassy.

A representative of the group, "Catholic Women for a Changed World," recounts, in her article in With Bible, the abuse women, and their children, often suffer In wars. Women are the ones who feel the wrath of the enemy in the cruelest way, as soldiers caught up in the insanity of war satisfy their carnal appetites. In our Scriptures we can  see a number of cases where this is  graphically expressed.

These women who returned to their  country after being used as 'comfort women' for the Japanese soldiers, lived a life less than human. They were not able to speak about this period in their lives and  society showed little concern  and allowed them to  live in darkness.

In 1990 Protestant women took the lead and made the issue of the Japanese comfort women known to the world. One of the women in 1991, grandmother Kim, made her ordeal known in graphic detail. This courageous act of grandmother Kim opened up the way for other women to speak out about their experiences during the war. In response the 'Butterfly Donation Fund' was set up to help raise money to help women from all over the world who are being abused in war and in society.

On Wednesdays a number of women groups can be seen demonstrating peacefully in front  of the Japanese Embassy, asking Japan to recognize their part in the atrocities against women in the Second World War. These women, also in solidarity with other women in the world, are extending their hands to help  other abused women: the early forced marriages of girls at a young age, the women that are forced to undergo circumcision that is dangerous and life threatening, and women in tribal societies who are taken from the enemy and suffer sexual abuse and humiliation that is even difficult to imagine.

This abuse of women, she says,  is also seen in Korea, with documentaries focusing on such abuse, which frequently occurs in families. To see these documentaries  brings tears to one's eyes, she says. One women wrote a book about the sexual violence that she suffered from her father and received  the  Stepping Stone Award. She left home and went to a  center for those who have suffered this violence. She mentioned the scars she had to endure and began to take counseling to undo the harm and slowly began to realize her worth. She hopes that others will read her book and again begin to live anew. The writer sends her applause to those  who have suffered this kind of pain and are willing to make it  known so that we will have solidarity with those who have suffered in this way.

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