"Tap rained frogs and snakes": the testimony of women who served 9 years in the army of the DPRK

"Tap rained frogs and snakes": the testimony of women who served 9 years in the army of the DPRK

Categories: Asia | Nations

A native of North Korea Lee SEO Yeon 41. Nine of them (from 1992 to 2001) she spent in voluntary service in the army. This path she chose, of course, not from good life. Then the country was a terrible devastation, but military personnel at least daily fed. In 2009, Lee managed to escape to South Korea, and now she can openly tell of the horrors she had endured during the service.

"Tap rained frogs and snakes": the testimony of women who served 9 years in the army of the DPRK

Source: BBC

Lee slept on the lower bunk bed in the room where it lived another two dozen women. Each of them was a table for storing uniforms, and always on the bedside table were two framed photos: founding father Kim Il-sung and his successor Kim Jong-Il.

Almost ten years have passed, but Li still remembers the sickening smell which never disappeared from the concrete barracks. "The mattresses were made of rice husk. They absorbed all the flavors like a sponge. We often went to bed lathered, so in the barracks constantly stank of sweat".

"Tap rained frogs and snakes": the testimony of women who served 9 years in the army of the DPRK

Difficulty with hygiene has arisen due to the deplorable state of water pipe. "It is normal to take a shower was impossible. The hot water ran out as such. Water through the hose typed directly from a mountain river, so it was ice cold. And sometimes from the faucet rained down frogs and snakes".

Daily drills for men and women was about the same. The only difference is that women are slightly less engaged in physical exercise. But every day they was cleaning the barracks and preparing food. Men from this duty was released.

"Tap rained frogs and snakes": the testimony of women who served 9 years in the army of the DPRK

For women with a life expectancy of seven years, the men serve at least three years more. From the army, the maintenance of which takes almost half of the country budget, dismissing students and gifted citizens. For example, outstanding athletes or musicians.

This is the most rigorous conditions of military service in the world.

"Tap rained frogs and snakes": the testimony of women who served 9 years in the army of the DPRK

However, the use of faded towels instead of napkins, this is not the most humiliating, what faced the soldiers are female. According to Lee, in units deployed in rural areas, often don't have separate toilets. They were common to men and women that greatly increased the risk of sexual harassment.

"For me personally, this attack was over, but many women do become victims of rape. If a girl became pregnant, she was forced to have an abortion. In one part, where I served as the commander of our company remained in the office after hours and hours of raped women who were under his command. It lasted more than a year, until it was transferred to another part. Any punishment the officer did not suffer".

"Tap rained frogs and snakes": the testimony of women who served 9 years in the army of the DPRK

Lee, who served in the electronic warfare division, retired at the age of 28 years. She was glad to see the family, but to life in the civilian world proved to be completely unsuitable. Faced with poverty, in 2008, she made a first attempt to flee the country, but she was caught on the Chinese border and was sent for a year in a labor camp.

The second attempt was a success. Shortly after his release from prison, Lee crossed the Tumen river (in the lower reaches it divides North Korea and Russia) and in China. There it was met by the agent and by agreement carried the fugitive to South Korea, where she still lives.

Keywords: Army | Women | Korea

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