East Asia neighbors South Korea and Japan have recently made international headlines in light of their brash resolution for “comfort women.” Heard of it before? Chances are more than likely you haven’t.
In arguably the most brutal crime against women in history, “comfort women” refers to the massive sexual slavery of thousands of Korean women at the hands of the Japanese government. Up until news of the recent “resolution” between South Korea and Japan regarding just this, the subject of comfort women has remained notably absent from the international conversation. But why all of the silence regarding such a pivotal part of history?
The answer is simple: the lives of women and the violence they too often suffer simply do not matter.
This is made alarmingly clear by the lackadaisical manner in which Japan and South Korea have "resolved" the comfort women debacle. Vacuous at best, the so-called comfort women resolution is a slap in the face to the very women who endured the unthinkable, the un-survivable. And despite the very public disapproval of Japan’s proposed resolution by surviving comfort women, the Korean government has accepted Japan’s settlement, which includes the removal of a statue honoring the legacy of the ever-resilient “comfort women.”
The passivity, and some may argue continued lack of acknowledgment, by the Japanese government trivializes this historic venom and shows us all just how undervalued the lives of women truly are.
Japan’s longstanding and blatant unresponsiveness to this historical obstruction of human rights parallels the global community’s tendency to pacify, trivialize, and/or ignore altogether human rights abuses against women.