Wednesday, March 21, 2007
An Excerpt From Maria Rosa Henson's autobiography, COMFORT WOMAN: Slave of Destiny
Maria Rosa Henson, or Lola Rosa, was the first Filipina Comfort Woman of WWII to come forward publicly on September 12, 1992. Because of Lola Rosa, many other Filipinas who had been living with this secret for over 50 years found the courage to come forward and finally speak their truth, finally ask for their apology, finally free themselves from the stories.
Here is an excerpt from her book, COMFORT WOMAN: Slave of Destiny (Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, 1996). This passage occurs in 1943. She's 16 years old and she has just been abducted and placed into a garrison, a former town hospital close to Magalang, Pampanga near Manila.
Without warning, a Japanese soldier entered my room and pointed his bayonet at my chest. I thought he was going to kill me, but he used his bayonet to slash my dress and tear it open. I was too frightened to scream. And then he raped me. When he was done, other soldiers came into my room and they took turns raping me.
Twelve soldiers raped me in quick succession, after which I was given half an hour to rest. Then twelve more soldiers followed. They all lined up outside the room waiting for their turn. I bled so much and was in such pain, I could not even stand up. The next morning, I was too weak to get up. A woman brought me a cup of tea and breakfast of rice and dried fish. I wanted to ask her some questions, but the guard in the hall outside stopped us from saying anything to each other.
I could not eat. I felt much pain and my vagina was swollen. I cried and cried, calling my mother. I could not resist the soldiers because they might kill me. So what else could I do? Every day, from two in the afternoon to ten in the evening, the soldiers lined up outside my room and the rooms of the six other women there. I did not have time to wash after each assault. At the end of the day, I just closed my eyes and cried.