Statue recalling rape victims of World War II, martial law unveiled in Aklan
A statue commemorating the rape victims of World War II and martial law in the Philippines was unveiled in Aklan on Tuesday.
The statue was made in memory of Lola Rosa Henson, the first comfort woman to come out and gave her testimony as a rape victim and for Agnes Sancho, allegedly raped by a soldier during martial law under former President Ferdinand Marcos.
It was unveiled around 10 am by two comfort women victims in a private property owned by Agnes' sister Nelia Sancho, International Solidarity Council for Redress- Manila Coordinator and the sister of Agnes Sancho located at Caticlan in Malay.
“Violence against women happens everywhere in the world so the Agnes Sancho represents the rape victim in conflicting regions. We should not forget them,” Sancho said in her speech.
Written in one of the markers is “Justice for Filipino victims of military rape and armed conflict situations”.
According to Sancho the red cloth around the two ladies shows the struggle of the victims while the two little birds on Lola Rosa’s dress means the struggle of the victim to heal from the trauma they experienced from soldiers.
“I hope (the) Japanese government make a move for formal public apology and compensation,” she said.
A small museum was also built for the “Lolas” (grandmothers) where a total of 60 to 70 pieces of pictures, paintings, and news clipping about their advocacy can be seen on the wall.
Around 100 people attended the event consisting of students, foreign delegates from ISCR and members of the Lolas Kampanyera Filipino Comfort Women Survivors Support Organization
At least three daughters of a former victim were present.
It was funded from the human rights compensation their family got as victims of martial law and donation by member countries of ISCR.
“Lolas are dying after 50 years of silence. (This) statue is one way of remembering and not forgetting them,” said Sancho.
A prayer was offered for the victims who already passed away and a poet play was performed by the students before the Lola’s present shared their experiences during the World War II.
In a press conference on Monday, Sancho said she hope the Japanese embassy in Manila will not pressure them to remove the statue as the property is not owned by the government. Ella Dionisio/DMS