Jan Banning

Cireunghas, West Java, INDONESIA

Icih (born 1926) was one of tens of thousands of 'comfort women' forced into prostitution by the Japanese military during World War II.
After her first husband was shot to death by the Japanese, the young widow Icih was put to work as laundry help in nearby barracks. Next she was locked up and raped and battered almost daily for three years by the barracks commander and another serviceman. At first she was still allowed every now and then to walk around the barracks under surveillance. Later she stayed locked up permanently in one of the barracks. She was beaten often and as punishment regularly didn't get food. At the end of the war she went home very thin and sick. "My father was already dead then, I was the only child. My mother used traditional herbs to heal my wounds, rubbed me with crushed leaves and massaged my body. I wasn't able to walk anymore, not even capable of pronouncing my name." Icih didn't remarry until eight years after the war, when she was fully recovered and could work again. "My husband knew I was taken by the Japanese, I told him myself, but he didn't care." The marriage ended in divorce after a few years, as did her next 10 marriages. She was never able to bear children; her womb was damaged by internal injuries sustained at the barracks. She adopted three children of her deceased sister. They in turn help her out in her old age, though she still consistently labours as a farm worker. She is at peace with her existence, but the rapes continue to haunt her. "It hurt so much, it was as if heaven crashed onto earth. My body can't forget it."

Object Name
Copyright
Jan Banning
City
Cireunghas, West Java
Country
INDONESIA
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