"Comfort Woman": the terrible story of a Korean woman who got into a brothel for the Japanese in World War IIPictolic
Beaten and bloody 15-year-old Lee Ok - Seon was lying on a tattered blanket on the floor of a dirty booth, and Japanese soldiers were lining up to rape her. The girl was abducted when she was walking down the street in her native Korean town of Ulsan in July 1942. Li was taken hundreds of kilometers away, to China, where she became a prisoner in the so-called "comfort station". A young Korean woman was forced to have sex with dozens of Japanese soldiers every day. Despite the fact that a lot of time has passed since then, the 93-year-old Lee can't forget the nightmare that she had to go through.Between 1932 and 1945, between 50,000 and 200,000 women were taken to brothels for the Japanese military. The captives were taken to Japan and the occupied territories, where the unfortunate fell into sexual slavery. Most of them were Korean, but Chinese, Southeast Asian, Japanese and European women were also captured. "Comfort women" were starved, raped and tortured. Many of them became infertile after cruel bullying, forced abortions and barbaric treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.
Lee is now 93 years old. She was in exile for 55 years, but returned to her native South Korea and now lives with five other victims of violence in The House of Sharing (House of Sharing). This is a shelter and an operating museum, which tells about the terrible fate of"comfort women". 75 years ago, Japan released the captives after the Allied victory, but still denies the shameful page of war crimes in its history. The Japanese government does not want to make an official apology and pay legal compensation at the request of the surviving sex slaves.
Li was the second daughter in a family where six children grew up. They lived in Korea, at that time occupied by Japan. The girl dreamed of becoming a scientist, but her family was too poor to send her daughter to school. When Lee was 15 years old, she started working at a local tavern to make ends meet. Japan annexed Korea in 1910, and during the Second World War, it united with Germany and Italy, opposing the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition.
On July 29, 1942, two strangers grabbed Li right on the street, dragged her to the Ulsan railway station and stuffed her into a car with other girls in it. After a few days of traveling without food and water, the frightened girl was taken to the Chinese city of Jilin, captured by Japan in 1937. A young Korean woman was brought to a Japanese military airfield. Lee recalls that his territory was fenced with barbed wire under electric voltage so that no one could escape. Then the 15-year-old girl was sent to the "Comfort Station No. 1".
The "comfort station" in Jilin was one of four hundred similar establishments in China and South Asia. It was a tiny building with a long corridor and booths that barely fit a blanket. The soldiers lined up, waiting for their turn, and hurried those who entered in front of them. The brothel was run by a couple of childless spouses from Japan.
Lee was Korean, and therefore she was treated abominably. Japanese women were given white rice, and Korean women were allowed to eat only cereal flakes with shriveled vegetables. The girls were constantly starving.
Some girls who flatly refused to fulfill the whims of the soldiers were tortured and killed in front of others. Lee recalls how a 14-year-old girl was stabbed to death in front of them, who refused the soldiers. So the aggressors taught a lesson to other women. Many could not stand the nightmare in the "comfort stations" and ended their lives by suicide.
Chong Ok - sun was 13 years old when she was abducted from her native home in the Korean province of Hamgyong-Namdo by a Japanese soldier while her parents were working in the field. The girl was stuffed into a van and brought to the local police station. There she was raped by several policemen. When Chun screamed, they put a sock in her mouth and continued to mock her. The boss hit her in the left eye, and the girl was blinded by him. She spent ten days in a cell, and then she was sent to the barracks of the Japanese army in the city of Heyuan. There, the unfortunate woman was among four hundred other Korean "comfort women".
The captives had to serve up to 5,000 Japanese soldiers daily. There were 40 men for each girl. If Chun protested, the military would put a gag in her mouth and beat the girl. One of the soldiers set fire to her genitals with a match so that she would obey him. The genitals of the young Korean woman were bloodied and mutilated.
The brutality of the Japanese soldiers knew no bounds. Once, the military threw 40 girls into a tank filled with water and snakes. The beaten women were pushed into the water and covered the tank with earth, burying the victims alive. Chun says that about half of the prisoners in the barracks were killed.
Sexually transmitted diseases flourished in the "comfort stations". Many soldiers refused to use condoms. Women were regularly given injection No. 606-a medicine for syphilis containing a large dose of arsenic. Lee says that mercury was used to treat sexually transmitted diseases, which made the woman infertile.
Chun Ok Sun told in 1996 that a Korean woman infected fifty soldiers. For this, the military shoved a red-hot iron rod into her vagina. Women often became pregnant, and they were forced to have abortions.
Hwang Kum - Ju was 17 years old when she was sent to a Japanese weapons factory. Three years later, a Japanese soldier dragged her into a tent and raped her. Then the girl was sent to the "comfort station". At first, she served high-ranking military personnel, but then she became "too worn out", and she was transferred to barracks for lower ranks. Hwang got pregnant three times. The first time she had a miscarriage, and the second and third time the girl was sent to a military hospital for an abortion.
Chun Ok Sun managed to escape from the "comfort station" barely alive. Twice she tried to get out, but they found her and returned her. For escaping, the girl was tortured and mercilessly beaten. The scars on her head still remind her of that terrible time. The captive had tattoos on her lips, chest and stomach. One day, after being tortured, a Korean woman lost consciousness. The soldiers thought that she was dying, and carried the body to the mountainside.
She and another tortured woman were found by a man who lived on the mountain. Next to them lay the body of a third, already dead, girl. The stranger fed them, gave them clothes and helped them to return to Korea. Chun was 18 when she arrived home-intimidated, infertile, with speech problems after five years of sexual slavery.
Li was released only after the end of the war, when Japanese soldiers left the barracks in China. Without money and the slightest idea of how far away from home they are, the Korean women did not know what to do. One of the soldiers suggested that they follow him into the mountains to escape. He went down to the city to buy food, but did not return.
Li lived on the streets of China and did not return to Korea for 55 years, ashamed of what happened to it. She never saw her parents again. Later, she married a Korean man and raised his two children, because she herself became infertile after being tortured at the "comfort station". The woman has two grandchildren growing up, whom she adores.
Since 1992, protests have been held every week in front of the Japanese Embassy in South Korea. They were attended by the surviving prisoners of the "comfort stations" and student activists who demanded an official apology and compensation from the Japanese government. But Japan refused, insisting that all the compensations were made in 1965 at the conclusion of the peace treaty.
Another financial scandal arose when seven informants in The House of separation accused the authorities of the shelter of misappropriating funds. Employees claimed that millions of donations intended for the treatment of women were directed to real estate transactions and the construction of projects of The House of Sharing Social Welfare Corporation.
The workers said that the former captives, four of whom need intensive medical care, are forced to pay for treatment with the money of relatives. In addition, the old women were forbidden to leave the rooms to the common dining room, and their diet was poor and unsuitable for medical reasons. Now the investigation into this case is ongoing.
Unfortunately, women continue to fall into sex slavery in our time. Yazidi women, whom ISIS terrorists bought and sold as sex slaves, told about the years of hell spent in captivity.