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Apologize for the Systemic Rape of Vietnamese Women During the Vietnam War

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Nguyen Thi Bach Tuyet was only a young girl when South Korean soldiers came to fight in her country of Vietnam as an ally of the United States during the Vietnam War. At the time, her family owned a small tea shop near a Korean military base. One day, while all her children looked on, a South Korean soldier entered her family’s shop and raped Tuyet’s mother. Several months later, another soldier came to the shop and raped her. Both her mother and Tuyet got pregnant from their assaults.

After learning of the assault, Tuyet’s father shunned her mother and abandoned their family. Neither she nor her mother ever saw the soldiers who raped them again, and neither of them knew where to go or who to ask for help. Those soldiers, and others like them, left Vietnam and never faced any consequences. Tuyet had to accept that what happened to her was her fate.

After her mother passed away in 1975, Tuyet raised her younger brother and her children together. She had to flee an abusive husband with her brother and children to a new area where she struggled to make ends meet. Tuyet’s life has not been easy, but she is proud of what she has been able to accomplish despite everything that has happened to her.

Tuyet represents the thousands of Vietnamese women raped and brutalized by South Korean soldiers during the Vietnam War, and Voices of Vietnam joins her in calling for justice.

This week, South Korean President Park Geun-hye will come to the United States for an official state visit and meeting with President Obama. She is the daughter of former President Park Chung-hee, who commanded the South Korean soldiers during the Vietnam War. For more than 40 years, the South Korean government has not recognized these atrocities committed by their soldiers during the war -- but the world should no longer accept their silence.

Only 800 survivors like Tuyet are estimated to be alive today. Their children are the Lai Dai Han, or mixed Vietnamese and Korean blood. They have struggled for decades without a formal apology, acknowledgement, or reparations from the Korean Government. Soon, there will be no one left to tell these women’s stories and they will be forgotten by history.

The survivors and Lai Dai Han also want to look ahead. While they are old, they want to have hope for the futures of their children and grandchildren. President Park must make a sincere and deep apology for the crimes committed against these women and their families and to consider reparations for the decades of hardship they have faced.

Voices of Vietnam is an organization dedicated to raising awareness. Thursday's press conference will serve as the launch event for Voices of Vietnam, which is dedicated to bearing witness to and recording the testimony of the thousands of Vietnamese like Tuyet who were victims of systemic rape and sexual assault at the hands of South Korean soldiers during the Vietnam War.

Click “Sign” and join us as we endeavor to provide these women with the dignity recognition brings.



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