Friday, September 26, 2008

Tribute to the Lolas

Hung on a wall of their home, many tapestries tell the story of the violence inflicted upon them by the Japanese soldiers during World War II.  Often kidnapped, coerced, or tricked into going with the soldiers, they were made to work during the day in garrisons doing laundry, cleaning, and cooking.  By nightfall, they were systematically raped by sometimes as many as forty men in one evening.  These women at Lila Pilipina are not the only ones who endured this, but, for now, they are the only ones who have come forward with their stories.

After reading the gut wrenching details of systematic violence, the details burned themselves on my heart and clung to my memory.  They were beaten, held down, sometimes with one leg tied up while men lined up behind a wall or sheet to wait their turn to rape these womyn, some as young as twelve years old girls.

When I read more stories, I was astounded to read how some made it home, either by waiting the terror out or by escaping.  One unknown womyn's story explained how she, literally, crawled home when her feet became too blistered and bloody to walk on the road.  When many arrived home, they were rejected by their own families as they were a sign of "disgrace" and markers of a daughter less valued or worthy now that she had been raped.  This depiction shows the brokenness that the "comfort" womyn endured; first by the violence and then by betrayal.

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