There are many secrets that governments try to keep and acts that they want brushed under the rug. Many of these acts took place during a war or at the time of an economic crisis. Neither of these are good excuses when it comes to what happened to the comfort women of Japan and South Korea. These happened during war and after the war with little to no remorse from the government. There have been apologies issued but the numbers of reported numbers of comfort women differs vastly when the government reports them. Both of these governments say that their policies were not to force women into sexual slavery but rather that all of the women should have been volunteers. The fact that this was not enforced to the slightest is a large omission that although has been denied, the governments were well aware of.
The Japanese comfort women were used to keep the morale up of the soldiers through the prostitution of these women. This was also used to keep spirits high during conflict in WWII. The Japanese forced these women into prostitution in nearly all of the territories that they occupied. The US comfort women who were in Korea were used to keep the US troops’ morale up around their military bases. The Korean government also had economic concerns when it came to the comfort women. Lawmakers proposed the expansion of comfort stations so the US soldiers would not venture to other parts of Asia to spend their money.
The women were brought from all over the territories that the Japanese occupied. They were also brought in from other countries in South Korea as well as Japan. Some of these women were promised jobs that would pay well only to be tricked and end up working as a prostitute as a comfort woman. In some of the places that were occupied by the Japanese, women were taken from their homes in the middle of the night and forced to work in the comfort stations. The ages of the women varied but girls who were no older than 12 to 14 were routinely forced to work in the brothels.
The women were treated terribly in the comfort stations and were vulnerable to many different types of abuse. The women were beaten consistently when they did not fulfill the needs of the soldiers or if the soldiers felt like beating them. The comfort women had no rights and their human rights were violated on a daily basis. Nearly three quarters of the women did not survive their time at the comfort stations. Women who refused to commit prostitution were beaten and executed without hesitation.
As you can see, the comfort women’s story has to be told because the proper governments need to be held accountable. The women are still suffering today with mental illnesses and PTSD from their time at the stations close to 60 years ago. Not letting this happen again is paramount and spreading awareness is a great way to do this.