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Learning to Witness: 'Comfort Women' at CSW60

Anita Coleman, a member of the Presbyterian delegation, writes about an ecumenical witness involving Presbyterians, United Methodists, and Lutherans that took place during one of the parallel events held during the NGO Committee on the Status of Women Forum.

Here are some excerpts:

‘Comfort women.’ I didn’t know anything about them until I heard the announcement at our orientation.  It appeared that there was to be an event where the sexual slavery of the South Korean women by the Japanese military was going to be denied and those interested were invited to gather for a conversation. I found myself doing so. I had done my own research before coming to this meeting and found it eye-opening. ‘Comfort women’ refers to women, young girls (and some boys too), who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War 2. The victims came from Asia and the Pacific, primarily Korea, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, and Philippines but also from elsewhere such as Burma. I even found one reference to the ‘Nederlands” (as Netherlands was called then).
... For now, I invite you, to get informed about the ‘comfort women’ issue. My second invite is to my faith family in California. If you have any south-east Asian, Korean or Japanese American ancestry/interest, or have friends of these ethnicities, I ask you to share this post with them. Also, I urge you to pray about becoming a ‘comfort women’ witness.  This issue highlights all sorts of injustices such as how patriarchy and colonialism are embedded invisibly in systems of defense (including our defense budgets), the insidious relationship between domestic violence and violence against women in conflict and war situations, and last, but not least, issues of human identity and use of women’s bodies.

Check out Anita’s whole post for more about the witness and a list of resources.

Anita Coleman is an independent scholar and researcher who lives in Southern California with her husband, son, and their pet cat Smokie. This is her first visit to New York, the United Nations, and the Commission on the Status of Women! Anita’s books are on Amazon.

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