Dy, who is from Negros Occidental in the southern Philippines, was abducted by Japanese soldiers while selling vegetables inside a market in her community. She, too, was kept in a garrison and raped repeatedly for three weeks.
Bustamante, a young 16-year-old during the war, was kidnapped and also forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese for 15 months.
Every comfort woman still remembers vividly the nightmares of the 1940s. The Japanese government cannot deny it, says Extremadura.
They wished it didn’t happen but it did, the women say.
Dy even remembers the time. “Every 6 p.m., the men would come and rape me,” she says, almost in a whisper as she fights back tears.
“Comfort Women/Sexual Slaves” Demand Recognition And Apology From Japanese Government
Women who were forced into sexual slavery as teenagers for the Japanese military during WWII are pushing for recognition, an apology, and compensation:
Outside, Narcisa Claveria, 85, dressed in a fuchsia pink traditional Filipina dress, stood on the frontline of a small group of protesters. She had walked about a quarter mile under the scorching Manila heat in the late morning to get there. It was tiring for an 85-year-old woman like her, but she was determined.
“My message to the emperor is for Japan to recognize us. They already acknowledged the Korean comfort women, what about us?” Claveria says, speaking in a slow, rustic voice. “Until now, there is no justice yet.”
Eighty-nine-year-old Hilaria Bustamante, in a black traditional Filipina dress, was also at the protests. She says it was tiring indeed to get there that morning and stand for more than an hour outside the palace.
Another in the group of five women is Estelita Dy, 85. “It shouldn’t be just the Koreans,” she says. “Justice should be for all and not just for one group.”
These elderly Filipinas who all battled the heat that day are euphemistically called comfort women, because they gave “comfort” to Japanese soldiers stationed in foreign countries.
More accurately, the women are among the hundreds of thousands of women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese during the war. For years they have been seeking justice for the sufferings they experienced at the hands of the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.
At the protest, the women listed three demands: an apology, compensation from Japan and recognition from the Philippine government that the comfort women system existed in the Philippines during World War II.
The women remember that the rapes were timed, set up according to business hours, and these children were helpless. Now that they are adults, the women have nightmares still, but their governments refuse to acknowledge the Japanese atrocities. It’s called war crimes, not “comfort.” There is no comfort in rape.
For Korean women, a compensation fund was established, but the women were told that if they accepted money, they would have to be silenced. In other words, they were paid to be quiet.
Women’s rights activists protest the silencing of women who were victims of war crimes, but really, what is behind the push to silence sexual assault survivors? Shame on the part of the government? Where a government is ashamed, the women should be silenced?