‘Maria Rosa’ (A True Story Of Filiphina’s Former Comfort Woman)

ImageI finished reading a book today, about Filiphina’s comfort woman. I totally amazed by the fact that there was a woman, women actually, that could endure such heavy ordeal. Life was thousands times harder back then, who want.to live in such inbeneficial circumstances? This was happened to them, the so called comfort women –the term comfort women itself is just an euphemism for sex slavery created by Japanese.  Them who got the unhonored title couldn’t choose nor run from the harsh reality. It was totally not what they wanted to happen in their life, yet they had to.
Maria Rosa was once a comfort woman from Filiphina. She was once a pretty and smart girl, she had a dream to become a doctor because she wanted to heal her relatives and people around her from illness freely, it was her biggest ambition in life. Sadly, her ambition wasn’t as big as the reality she had. She was just an illegitimate child, her mother, Julia, who ever worked as a servant in Don Pepe house–a wealthy landlord who was noted for his devotion. Don pepe raped Maria’s mother and got her pregnant. Fortunately, Don Pepe didnt run from his responsibility, he supplied money once in a month for Maria until she became adult. Deep inside her heart, she felt lucky even though she was just an illegitimate child, but at least her father still took the responsibility toward her. Maria and his father –Don pepe, usually met at hidden place, in the granary to be precise because Don pepe didn’t want his family to know that he had an illegitimate girl beside his official wife, Dona, had a good relationship with Julia, she deemed her like her own daughter. Maria was accompanied by her grandmother, Julia’s mother named Carmen when she wanted to see her father. But after the grandmother passed away, her uncle, Pedro, took the role to accompany her to go there.
It was all good before 1941, when Japanese finally occupied the Filipina. And that year and so forth seemed to be the darkest years and major turning point in Maria’s life. Her life changed at all. When the news about Japanese who won the war by devastating Pearl Harbor –before Japan, Filliphine was occupied by Amerika. After that news broke out the Japanese troops began their invasion toward Amerika shadow lands, including Filiphine. Soon after, the news being overheard everywhere, there was a big chaos in Filiphine. Though Mac Arthur –America’s Presiden at that time,  promised his comeback to decolonize Filiphine from Japan, but later on it was too late, eventhough the good point was Filiphine finally realized they should not depend on someone’s vow to set their motherland free, that they should have struggled for their own freedom.
Back to Maria, she and her family, without exception also got the impact. They had to move on to safer place, since the house which she lived in was one hour long from the Japanese headquarter. Rosa joined in a guerrilla called the Hukbahalap, its aim was to fight over Japanese. Even though, Japanese aimed for occupying was for good at first, but later on it was proved to be a big put on.
Maria’s first affliction was being raped by Japanese troops, when she was about to go with the guerrilla to send the dry branch to the headquarters. They were caught off, Maria was amongst men, seeing Maria as the only lady, Japanese troopers then abducted her. After being abducted, she was then being raped by a trooper. She did cry out loud. She remembered her mother’s face who ever got rape as well. She’s only fourteen back then, not even reached her puberty yet. She later learned the one who raped her, named Captain Tanaka. It was happened twice. She felt her life was miserable, she almost lost all her hope, but luckily she had her mother who could exactly understand how she felt at that time.
It wasnt end yet, Maria’s suffering didnt stop like that. When she was about to send the ammunition and guns to headquarters with carabao cart. At first, maria didnt know that place where she sat down was actually guns and ammunition. It became a worry to her, since if they were caught by Japanese troops bringing ammunition and guns they would be immediately killed. But at the end, when Japanese troop investigated the inside of tbe cart they didnt find out any, it meant they were safe, at that time. Only 50 meters away from the gun checkpoint, one of the trooper called the guerrilla to go back. But it was actually only Maria who was being called. So Maria went to meet the trooper. And after that, she was being abducted AGAIN. That was where the story of Maria’s darkest moment actually began.
She became a comfort woman or sex slaver for Japanese troops. Each night she had to serve about hundreds of Japanese troops. She felt in pain, she was physically and mentally tortured. Her pride being turned down. But she finally met a man who raped her for the first time, Captain Tanaka. He seemed to be fond of Maria, he treated her well unlike others. Even though Maria didnt take a liking on him at first, but at the end she learned to love him. He also helped Maria when she got malaria attack and at the end set her free from the brothel. But that as well became the last time Maria got to see Tanaka, when he tried to give her a cup of tea because she was sicked and later got caught –Maria was being punished because she leaked the plan of Japanese troops to boom her station, she felt like she had to safe her mother and others, and at the end suspected by Japanese because of her deed.
She found herself lying at the street, she remembered nothing but Tanaka’s face when he tried to give her a cup of tea. Her aunt recognized her and took her home to tell the chronology. Since that time, Maria had a disorder, she was in great trauma for what had happened to her. Her head went bald and when she spoke her words slurred. People thought she was crazy and she became a butt of jokes because of that. Not only she had to suffer such great trauma, but also afraid to meet people esp.men.
But later, Maria got married to Domingo, a loyal suitor who loved her sincerely. She got 3 children, 2 girls, 1 boy. And until the end of her life at 1997 she was struggling with other former comfort women for justice towards Japanese government.
God, the story of Maria Rosa totally opened my eyes. I was always beefed about why life is so hard, unfair and cruel to me, but I cant imagine how can I face the world if I were in the same position as them.  By now, I’ll learn to be grateful, I’m million luckier than them. And for Maria Rosa who has meet the God and probably got an eternally happily ever after life at heaven, thank you for telling your painful story, you sure have got the justice at the proper place.