Japan Can Champion Women’s Rights

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Mary M. McCarthy – New York Times – Thursday, 03 January 2013 (originally published 01 Jan)

“THEY started to drag us away, one by one. … I hid under the table, but was soon found. … The Japanese officer … took his sword out of its scabbard and pointed it at me, threatening me with it, that he would kill me if I did not give in to him. I curled myself into a corner, like a hunted animal that could not escape.”

Thus, Jan Ruff O’Herne, a Dutch woman born in Java in 1923, recounted the abuse she suffered at the hands of the Japanese military as a World War II “comfort woman,” or sexual slave, at a 2007 U.S. House subcommittee hearing.

This was only the first of the rapes that she would endure every day and night for months after she had been “forcibly seized” from a Japanese civilian internment camp at age 19 and brought to a brothel for Japanese servicemen. O’Herne was one of up to 200,000 mostly Korean, but also Chinese, Dutch, Japanese, Filipino, Indonesian and other women coerced into sexual servitude by the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces . . .

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