Henson's book is different for two reasons: she experienced the tragedy firsthand and therefore speaks with authority; but she also speaks with the voice of healing, since she has lived with her nightmare for decades and survived, both physically and spiritually. Another amazing aspect of this book is that despite its title, it does not focus naroowly on the sex-slave controversy. Henson died in August 1997, but her words live on. Her example is unforgettable... The Japan Times This book makes clear that what the Japanese army did was only the worst example of oppression against women in the long history of colonialism and imperialism in the Philippines. It serves a corroborative text for historians, a call to arms for feminists and human rights activists, and, finally, a life-affirming reminder of the indomitability of the human spirit for all readers. Persimmon Maria Rosa Henson's Comfort Woman is a straightforward, painful account, simply told. A powerful account of a woman's life controlled by men, both Filipino and Japanese. Feminist Formations Serves as a good introduction to readers who may be approaching the subject of 'comfort women' for the first time...Henson's autobiography becomes more than just the telling of the untold but ultimately the revealing of the unseen and the unsaid. [She] is not only able to recount the nightmare of her abduction and confinement in a 'comfort station,' but she articulates the day to day degradation and hardship that women are subjected to long before and after the war is over. Pilipinas A compelling and moving account of one Filipina's ordeal under the Japanese military. It is also a story of survival, and of a lifelong quest for healing and for justice. Maria Rosa Henson deserves praise for her honesty and courage. By revealing to us her painful experiences, Mrs. Henson broke a fifty-year silence and made the world aware of the brutality of war and its savageness to women. We are greatly enriched by this story and inspired by how one woman can overcome such epic suffering and still have such compassion and such faith. -- Corazon C. Aquino Henson's book is different for two reasons: she experienced the tragedy firsthand and therefore speaks with authority; but she also speaks with the voice of healing, since she has lived with her nightmare for decades and survived, both physically and spiritually. Another amazing aspect of this book is that despite its title, it does not focus naroowly on the sex-slave controversy. Henson died in August 1997, but her words live on. Her example is unforgettable. The Japan Times
From Comfort Woman: 'We began the day with breakfast, after which we swept and cleaned our rooms. Then we went to the bathroom downstairs to wash the only dress we had and to bathe. The bathroom did not even have a door, so the soldiers watched us. We were all naked, and they laughed at us, especially me and the other young girl who did not have any pubic hair.O OAt two, the soldiers came. My work began, and I lay down as one by one the soldiers raped me. Everyday, anywhere from twelve to over twenty soldiers assaulted me. There were times when there were as many as thirty; they came to the garrison in truckloads.O OI lay on the bed with my knees up and my feet on the mat, as if I were giving birth. Whenever the soldiers did not feel satisfied, they vented their anger on me. Every day, there were incidents of violence and humiliation. When the soldiers raped me, I felt like a pig. Sometimes they tied up my right leg with a waist band or a belt and hung it on a nail in the wall as they violated me.O OI shook all over. I felt my blood turn white. I heard that there was a group called the Task Force on Filipino Comfort Women looking for women like me. I could not forget the words that blared out of the radio that day: 'DonOt be ashamed, being a sex slave is not your fault. It is the responsibility of the Japanese Imperial Army. Stand up and fight for your rights.'O In April 1943, fifteen-year-old Maria Rosa Henson was taken by Japanese soldiers occupying the Philippines and forced into prostitution as a Ocomfort woman.O In this simply told yet powerfully moving autobiography, Rosa recalls her childhood as the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy landowner, her work for Huk guerrillas, her wartime ordeal, and her marriage to a rebel leader who left her to raise their children alone. Her triumph against all odds is embodied by her decision to go public with the secret she had held close for fifty years.