As a young girl born into a wealthy family, Chung SeoWoon had a smooth life. Things changed upon her father’s imprisonment. He had protested the Korean occupation, defied the Japanese police.
She agrees to work at a factory in Japan, in exchange for the eventual release of her father. But it was all a lie. After a long journey, she realises she is a trafficking victim — sent to Semarang, Indonesia. Upon arrival, Japanese soldiers in a military camp take her as a ‘comfort woman’.
Soldiers injected her with opium to turn her into an addict, and she lost count of the soldiers who raped her.
Other young women around her died from the violence, buried like dogs. Her own suicide attempt failed. Even as the Japanese military surrendered in the war, the violence was not over. By luck, she escaped plans by the soldiers to slaughter the women in a bomb shelter.
When Madam Chung SeoWoon returned home, everything was different. Her father had died in prison, the servants left, and she had the arduous journey of quitting opium, alone.
“I kept telling myself that I just have to stay alive. They may have taken away my body, but not my spirit. That is how I survived”