The experiences of Korean comfort girls-women before and during World War II are a paradigmatic example of how military sexual violence has the power to obliterate women’s dignity and shame them into nonexistence. I propose that their horrific experience of sexual slavery under the Japanese military caused intense and lasting shame that resulted in the Korean comfort girls-women’s sense of self being entrenched in shame. Moreover, I argue that the innocence of Korean comfort girls-women was and continues to be inadequately recognized. The Japanese government refuses to admit its legal accountability and has not provided just reparations to Korean comfort girls-women for its treacherous and systematic sexual enslavement of Korean and other comfort girls-women. The Korean government and the people of Korea have been too slow to accept the innocence of these women, to embrace their pain, sorrow, and suffering, and to advocate for justice for them. This conversion of their innocence into inadequacy or shame, actively by the Japanese government and passively by the Korean government and its people, compounded these women’s long, miserable suffering for half a century until the silence was broken in 1991 by a brave woman, Kim Haksun, with the support of Korean activists.
Pastoral Psychology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 5, 2017
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