Breaking Silence by Paula Allen

Fifty years after maintaining a painful silence, the women of Asia, who had been forced into sexual slavery during WWII by the Japanese Imperial Army, began to speak publicly. Together these women, euphemistically called ‘Comfort Women’, have awakened the world to the horror of the Japanese Military’s institutionalisation of rape, trafficking, and torture inflicted upon women and girls.

They have asked for full reparations and an apology from the Japanese Government and to date, are still waiting. Their voices have mobalised and inspired a global movement demanding that the crimes of sexual violence be readdressed.

The selected photographs were made for Amnesty International in 2005, on a trip to South Korea and the Philippines, with researcher Suki Nagra.


Looking at these images I am drawn to the contemplative honesty of their candid nature, as well as the importance of the inclusion of the captions – as without the captions they become voiceless. I want my own work to speak of the voices of the women who suffered as ‘comfort women’. To do this I know I need to continue to read their testimonies.

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