martes, 19 de agosto de 2014

An honorable path to comfort women’s death

Gustavo Ascolano  
Teacher Stella Maris Saubidet Oyhamburu
Language and Written Expression IV                        
Institute ISFD N° 41  

An honorable path to comfort women’s death
It is estimated that between one and two hundred thousand female sex slaves were forced to deliver sexual services to Japanese soldiers, both before and during World War II. These women were known as comfort women and the Japanese Imperial Conference composed of the emperor, approved their use by Japanese soldiers at that time. These women not only lost their dignity and their honor in life but also were left forgotten by the military forces and the Japanese government. In order to ameliorate comfort women’s human rights, it is significant on one hand that they were provided with a salary and with the facilities, for the rest of the comfort women who are still alive, to live the last part of their lives in a comfortable way; and on the other hand, they are still hurt, and they know they deserve an apology which could maybe heal or increase their personal honor.
As the war advanced, Japan felt the necessity of military sexual slaves and invented the comfort system stations for the need of different purposes. Firstly, protecting the local women
from the danger of rape by its soldiers was seen as the main cause. Secondly, the idea referred to the preservation of the troops’ health by preventing the infection of venereal disease through rape in the streets. Thirdly, these stations were thought as places where soldiers could gain the fighting strength, stirring up the soldiers’ morale, relieving combat stress and providing leisure. Finally, these places were merely thought to improve or preserve the soldiers’ lives, but not the women’s. Although about 100,000 women were recruited and transported to the battlefields, less than 30% of those women survived. Many of them were killed in the battle. Others died because they could not endure the deteriorated conditions of the comfort stations, committed suicide because they felt shame, or were killed while attempting to escape.
Despite the young girls who lived in the worst conditions at those comfort stations had a shorter life, the rest of these women who are still alive nowadays, still think they should have died there at the battlefields, avoiding the suffering of the years that were still coming. When these girls went to these comfort stations for the first time, an officer usually told them their task and the rules of the station. Each girl had a designated room supplied with a thin mattress and separated from the lobby by a thin curtain. Following this, the officer broke them in for their following months of service by raping them. This trauma alone resulted in many suicides and severe mental illnesses. On the other hand, some of the women who went through that same situation but kept themselves alive nowadays are living together with only nine from the fifty nine known survivors in the House of Sharing in Gyunggi-do, South Korea since 1998. This house was founded in June 1992 through funds raised by Buddhist organizations and various socio-civic groups in order to give each resident her own room, her own space, furnished with a fridge, a bookshelf and a phone. However, in spite of the simple facilities in the house, which will not assure them a peaceful path for the end of their lives, they finally can feel they are finally taken into consideration and sheltered at the same time.
In addition, those comfort women who survived after the war was over, could not return home easily. Many women quit the idea of returning to their home with a feeling of shame and remained in a foreign land, staying there for the rest of their days. In many cases, those who returned home were suffering from injuries and went through life miserably, unable to forget past cruelties. Many suffered from physical disabilities and venereal disease, and were unable to bear children. Others could not marry, and those who did eventually marry often had to conceal their past, unable to tell others of the pain they felt in their hearts. The women have lived for more than half a century after the war suffering practically as much as they did during the several years they spent in military comfort stations, where their honor was already lost.
The former comfort women have been sufficiently ignored for over 70 years. Neither the national courts nor the international forums relieve them from the severe infringement on their human rights and their prestige in life. They still suffer and have died desolately, while their wish is only the one of recovering the honor that the military forces had taken from them at those times.  Finally, thanks to the persistent efforts, one District Court in Japan held in favor of the former comfort women, and one Congressman in the United States introduced a resolution to enact a statute that demand the Japanese government to take legal and moral responsibility. In the near future, it is expected that the Japanese government will apologize sincerely, compensate the former comfort women for the severe violations on their human rights, prosecute the perpetrators who were charged with the military comfort stations system at that time, and through this acts, possibly enable the feeling of honor in these women’s hearts once again.

 Works Cited
 Williams,L. Comfort women: South Korea's survivors of Japanese brothels. Retrieved on August 18th, 2014 from:
Japanese Comfort Women. Retrieved on August 18th, 2014 from:
BACKGROUND OF ‘COMFORT WOMEN’ ISSUE. Yomiuri Newspaper, Tokyo, Japan
Filed under: IANFU 'comfort women',Japan,Korea 01/04/2007
Comfort station originated in govt-regulated ‘civilian prostitution’. Retrieved on August 18th, 2014 from: 
Hicks, G. The Comfort Women: Japan's Brutal Regime of Enforced Prostitution in the Second World War. Retrieved on August 18th, 2014 from
Yoshiaka, Y. Sex slaves for the Emperor: the 'Comfort Women' Retrieved on August 18th, 2014 from

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