The Rise of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in the Russia-Ukraine War
JUSTICE FOR COMFORT WOMEN
During the Pacific War (WW2), girls were forcibly taken from Korea, China, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines, and the Netherlands to perform sexual services for the Japanese military. This is a project dedicated to remembering the 200,000 girls who were forced into sexual slavery called Comfort Women and other victims of wartime sexual violence.
On August 14, 1991, Kim Hak Sun, a bony, unflinching 70-year-old woman, stood in front of a room full of reporters and told the Korean public her long overdue story as a victim of sexual slavery during the Japanese occupation in the Pacific War (WWII).
Soon, her testimony prompted many others: similar in weight of brutality, varying in location, age, and survival. Stories of girls who were kidnapped, tortured and forced to perform sexual services for the Japanese military. Girls who were forced into sexual slavery were euphemistically called Comfort Women. At the end of the war, most Comfort Women were buried, burned alongside evidence of their existence, or lost in foreign land. Those who managed to survive came back to a country that branded them as prostitutes, where they silently lived on bearing the scars and nightmares of their youth.
Project Sonyeo has an array of carefully compiled resources. There are English translations of key interviews, testimonies, documents, as well as other resources for education. History teaches us how prevalent sexual violence is in conflict and how easily we forget victims of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV). The project's purpose is to help provide resources as a lesson for the future. For far too long, rape has been a weapon of war, a tactic of terrorism, a tool to instill fear in communities. Only when CRSV is treated more seriously and we hold perpetrators accountable, will young girls and women be protected from the threat of wartime sexual violence.