Q.What is the after-war damage to comfort women ?
A.The research team led by SungKil Min, M.D., Ph.D. at Yonsei University presented a thesis titled, ‘sychiatric Sequela of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery in Wartime in Former comfort Women’in 2003. Based on the interviews and tests on 26 former comfort women by psychiatrists and psychologists, the thesis says, “The recruit of comfort women was an organized crime by a state entity, which is unprecedented.”comfort women forcibly sent to the battle fields were confined and suffered from repeated sexual assault for a long period of time. In addition, they suffered from battery, confinement, hunger, fear of death by bombing, STDs and infections. After the war, many comfort women were killed, forced to take their own lives and deserted. Even those who managed to survive and return home had to suffer for the rest of their lives from social isolation, shame, poverty and weak physical conditions. Majority of the victims could not marry and even those who managed to marry got divorced after their past was revealed. Those who got married as a second wife were often deserted after her husband died. There are those who were deserted by her adopted children. As a result, these surviving victims are socially alienated and tend to avoid people, feeling enormous pain and suffering.
According to a study by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, Among diseases suffered by survived victims, arthritis accounts for 44.3%, gastroenteritis 19.8%, cardiopathy 16.1%, uterus disorder 12.5% and dementia 4.2%. On top of that, many of them suffer from physical aftereffects from STDs, battery, torture and trauma, which may be linked to psychological trauma to double their pains. Therefore, it is highly likely that they may suffer from psychological disorders. Twenty-five percent of the victims surveyed said they suffered from nervous disorder due to pent-up resentment or obsessive-compulsive disorder and 4.2% said that they had visual or auditory hallucination and hysteric symptoms. A victim in Seoul said that she often woke up in the middle of night, screaming and struggling to push away a Japanese solider who were attacking her in her dream. This is one of the major symptoms of PTSD. All that suggest that these victims have long been suffering from physical and psychological aftereffects even after the war. Given the fact that some Jews who survived the Nazi Holocaust suffer from psychological disorders such as PTSD even after 50 years, it can be assumed that many former comfort women may also suffer from the same conditions.
As a result of the study, painful past and traumatic experiences of the survived victims have been proved as facts. Majority of them still suffer form physical aftereffects following physical injuries. All of 26 victims surveyed had PTSD and 8 of them still suffer from it. Among the major symptoms are tendency to avoid thinking, feeling and conversation related to the experiences as a comfort woman; attempt to keep away from people, activities and places which remind them of the past, repetitive and painful images and dreams, feeling of confined future, insomnia, oversensitivity, and anger.http://www.hermuseum.go.kr/eng/sub01/sub0102.asp