On September 25, the Center for Korean Research hosted a video screening and panel discussion with visual artist Chang-Jin Lee. During World War II, 200,000 young women, referred to as “comfort women,” were systematically exploited as sex slaves in Asia. “Comfort Women Wanted” is based on the artist’s interviews with Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Indonesian, Dutch, and Filipino “comfort women” survivors and a former Japanese soldier. Chang-Jin Lee shared that she hopes to present “comfort women” not as a solely Korean or Asian issue, but as an international human rights issue.
Following the video screening, a panel discussion opened up a conversation around wartime sexual violence against women. Professor Margaret Stetz, Professor of Women’s Studies and Humanities at University of Delaware, began by stressing the importance of education at an early age in order to raise awareness about the issue. Professor Elazar Barkan, Director of the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University, highlighted the importance of “comfort women” survivors speaking out about their experiences. Pablo Castillo-Diaz, UN Peace and Security Protection Analyst, ended the discussion by emphasizing UN peacekeeping role, development of transitional justice, and reparations to survivors.