During times of war, there are several things that happen which went unnoticed for years to come. The US relationship with comfort women was one such topic that took years to come to light.
During World War II, the Japanese government was responsible for forcing women into the role of comfort women. Comfort women were given the titles of being diplomats for soldiers. But in reality, these women were nothing more than sex slaves, forced into conditions that most of them found deplorable.
These women were taken from several countries. There were a small percentage of women who volunteered to be paid prostitutes, as finding money was hard during this time, meaning that women had to do whatever they could to earn some money. The women were often put into homes in which they would wait for soldiers to come and do whatever they wanted.
Mental Effects of Comfort Women
These comfort women often had to deal with what cannot be described in words. Studies have shown that most of them were found with the following mental effects:
- Intense anger
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Women who were forced to be comfort women were put into situations that can cause severe damage. Studies show that women who were forced into prostitution often have intensified anger and have a harder time controlling their anger versus someone who was not put into this situation. In addition, they dealt with depression as they were often shunned after the war.
It’s been found that many of these women were not responsible for how they came to be comfort women. US comfort women were not as many in numbers, but they too were still affected with these mental issues: PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder can be seen in most, if not all, of these women.
As the events their older self have stuck with themselves, causing isolated behavior, leading them to withdraw into themselves. These types of mental behavior will not go away on their own; they will have to be treated properly.
The Life of Comfort Women
Comfort women that dealt with, both foreign and US soldiers, are now talking about what they went through.
These complains mainly border on 3 points:
- Constant medical evaluations
- Poor working conditions
- Human rights violated
Women who were brought in to deal with the US soldiers, often underweight weekly medical evaluations to check for sexually transmitted diseases and other health ailments. If the women were found to have any issues, they would be locked in a room and the door would only be unlocked to give meals. They were not allowed to leave, which puts them as more of a prisoner than anything else.
In addition, they were often found to be in working conditions that were deplorable to their health, one of the reasons for mental illness. Due to the fact that these women were held as more prisoners than anything else, their basic human rights were violated. The women were treated more as commodities of the government than actual women.
For those women, their lives were nothing more than being sex slaves. The mental effects of what they went through are just starting to come to public, and the demand for correcting the injustices caused to these women is getting louder. The women were often torn from their homes, and only released once the war was over. Then, they were shunned by their communities for the activities they participated in.
Image credits to : joonyoung kim