She was locked into a room where she was raped by countless of soldiers daily. She was locked up for 20+ days. She was punched and kicked when she did not comply with the soldier’s orders. Her face was slapped countless of times in the period of time of her arrest. There were guards at the door and around the comfort station to prevent her from escaping.
Her family sold valuables and borrowed from friends and relatives to trade her back. She was finally free after violent treatment of the soldiers. She fell ill but she was not allowed for treatment at her husband’s household. They all avoided her since she was considered a “dirty” woman for having satisfied soldiers at the comfort station. Suffering from isolation at her in-laws and her illness, she decided to return to her father’s house for awhile to recover. She was suffering from gynecologic problems which will continue to affect her life even up to today.
She slowly recovered after 2 years at her father’s house. Since she was a married woman, she needed to return to her husband’s sooner or later. However, when she arrived, she found out that her husband was suffering from PTSD. His father hired a doctor to cure him from the trauma. However, his hand would not stop shivering, and he cannot even feed himself, let alone working to support the family. Ever since she married a husband younger than her, she had been bearing the responsibilities of house chores and labor at her in laws. Even if she was sick from the treatment at the comfort station, she decided to swallow her pain and press on.
Her father in-law soon passed away, and her mother in-law remarried taking all the valuables with her. The young couple lived in a naked house with nothing to live on besides her father and relatives’ support. She also had to do most of the family chores in order to support her family.
Her sufferings were caused mostly from the Japanese soldiers. In 1998, she arrived in Tokyo hoping to sue Japan for her lost. However, they ruled against compensating her as a victim.
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Growing up as a child in Hong Kong, I heard much about the terrors that my grandparents on both sides of the family had endured under the rule of the Japanese during their invasions in Pacific East Asia. While these tales horrified me as a child, it sparked an interest in me and set me on the path of getting my bachelor’s degree in history at the University of San Francisco. I was so intrigued by the subject that by the time I was fourteen, I had read Iris Chang’s award winning book, The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, which was a gift from my grandfather, who insisted that this portion of history can never be forgotten.
As I grew up, I soon realize that most people in the world, even my peers in Hong Kong, were either indifferent or ignorant of the subject. Whilst I was disappointed by this realization, it continues provide me with the motivation and drive to spread the knowledge of this largely forgotten past; as the age-old expression goes: those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.
Nicole Dahlstrom is a non-profit marketing specialist with a history of coordinating marketing efforts for non-profit start-ups. She began her career while still in college when she interned at a local non-profit start-up called Spread the Care. After receiving a B.A. in Marketing, Nicole spent a year as an employment specialist with the national volunteer program, AmeriCorps. During her term of service, she aided a diverse set of clients with anything from learning to speak English to writing a business plan. Since finishing her term of service in September of 2014, Nicole has pursued a freelance writing career while studying online marketing for non-profits. She currently works as the Development Coordinator for the growing San Francisco based non-profit, Pacific Atrocities Education.