In/fertility among Korea’s "Comfort Women" Survivors: A Comparative Perspective

Citation:

Soh, C. Sarah. 2006. “In/fertility among Korea’s ‘Comfort Women’ Survivors: A Comparative Perspective.” Women’s Studies International Forum 29 (1): 67–80. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2005.10.007.

Author: C. Sarah Soh

Abstract:

This article explores the social psychological and physiological impact of wartime military sexual slavery on postwar lives of former "comfort women" by analyzing Korean survivors’ testimonial narratives of han (long-held bitter resentment) and my multisite ethnographic research findings on the topic. Taking a comparative perspective of a "person-centered anthropology," it attempts to historicize the experiences of wartime enforced sexual labor and its impact on reproductive capacity in postwar marital lives among some Korean, Filipino, and Dutch survivors. [Soh] posit[s] the cumulative number (as well as the degree of roughness) of forced sexual intercourse–operationalized as the length of sexual servitude period–as a crucial factor in affecting the survivors’ reproductive successes in postwar marital lives. Other important intervening variables for survivors’ in/fertility that [Soh] theorize[s] include sexually transmitted diseases, reproductive disruptions, and exceptionally privileged treatment resulting in reduced sexual workload.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Health, Reproductive Health, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexual Violence, Sexual Slavery, SV against women Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: North Korea, South Korea

Year: 2006

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