LOLAS’ HOUSE: Filipino Women Living with War

EVERY WAR IS A WAR ON WOMEN.

They were taken from their homes.  Snatched from the roadside.  Chased down in the fields. More than 1,000 Filipino women and girls kidnapped to be “Comfort Women” for the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. Throughout Asia the Japanese forced 400,000 women into sexual slavery.

LOLAS’ HOUSE tells the stories, in unprecedented detail, of sixteen surviving Filipina “Comfort Women.”  M. Evelina Galang began researching the stories in the 1990’s as 173 lolas, grannies in Tagalog, emerged after decades of shame and silence to demand recognition and justice from the Japanese government.

She sits with the lolas at Lolas’ House in Quezon City.  She dances with them to ABBA.  She traces the scars on their bodies with her finger.  She joins them in protest at the gates of the Japanese embassy in Manila.

Galang travels with individual lolas to the sites where they were abducted and held, raped by soldiers ten, fifteen, twenty times a day, every day, until the Japanese were driven from the Philippines.

Even though they relive the horror at each telling, the lolas offer their stories so that no Filipina, no woman anywhere, should suffer rape and torture in wartime.

LOLAS’ HOUSE is not only a book of testimony and documentation, it is a book of witness.  It is a book about survival and the female body.  Intensely personal, globally political, this book is the legacy of Lolas’ House to the world.

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