Contact: Joanne Alcantara
National Coordinator, GABRIELA–USA
On February 18, 2008, a US army member was taken into custody for the rape of a Filipino woman in Okinawa, Japan. The woman, who’s identity has not been released, reported to local police that she was raped in a hotel. The brutal incident left the woman with injuries, and is currently receiving treatment at a medical facility.
The claim made by the Filipino woman adds to the sordid US military rap sheet in Okinawa, with a 38-year old Marine staff sergeant recently arrested for the rape of a 14-year old Japanese girl only 7 days earlier.
The usual response from the US military claims that Army authorities are investigating the case, but this incident will only prove again the biased nature of the US-Japanese Status of Forces Agreement (SoFA), which allows for US military servicemen to claim impunity regarding specific illegal conduct. In 1995, the gang-rape of an Okinawan elementary school girl by US marines prompted widespread outrage from Okinawans who are still fighting to contest the highly concentrated presence of US military in their island.
Similar to the US-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), these underhanded military deals between the US and other Asian states have grave consequences for the girls and women who live and work in and around highly militarized areas. The gang-rape of 22 year-old Nicole in 2006 is indicative of the ongoing pattern of sexual attacks caused by US military occupation. Further, the Philippine puppet government under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has made it so that the Philippines has become the stomping yard of US military troops. The convicted US marine in Nicole’s case, Lce. Corporal Smith’s lenient sentence is proof of the Philippines’ cowardice when it comes to protecting women’s rights and safety.
The growing presence of US military in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia spells out danger for women’s bodies and livelihood. A recent report of 2 children and a pregnant woman murdered by so-called US training exercises, Balikatan, in Mindanao calls attention to the countless ways US military occupation targets the welfare of women.
These despicable incidents stir up the continuing women’s struggle to oust US occupation in the Philippines and calls for solidarity among women across nations that are subject to the same abuses of military occupation. From the legacy of resistance of our Lolas, WWII comfort women, to standing up against these crimes of war on a new generation of Filipino women, Pinay Sa Seattle, Babae in San Francisco and FiRE in New York demand JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF US MILITARY HARASSMENT!
GABRIELA-USA calls for immediate investigation into the rapes in Okinawa, Japan. The US military and government must take accountability for its wars of aggression on the world and on the women of the world!
STOP US TROOPS FROM VIOLATING OUR WOMEN!
NO TO WARS OF AGGRESSION!!!
NO TO ANOTHER GENERATION OF COMFORT WOMEN!
US TROOPS OUT OF OKINAWA AND THE PHILIPPINES!