Fairfax County’s New Comfort Women Memorial Courts Controversy By Tamara Treichel
Fairfax, Virginia – A simple granite boulder flanked by two turquoise butterfly benches has been silently sitting on the grounds of Fairfax County’s government office.
The boulder seems quite inconspicuous, perhaps even humble. But the boulder and benches bear a greater significance.
It is a Comfort Women Memorial, dedicated to thousands of women, euphemistically called “Comfort Women,” who were forced to provide sexual favors to the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.
“May these ‘Comfort Women’ find eternal peace and justice for the crimes committed against them,” the plaque on the memorial reads. The Comfort Women’s countries of origin are “Korea, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Netherlands and East Timor.”
But are the women known as “Comfort Women” and their families finding peace and justice?
Fairfax County’s Comfort Women Memorial, which was unveiled on May 30, may be a step in that direction.
When asked what the butterfly benches symbolize, Grace Han Wolf, a Korean American from the Herndon Town Council, told Asian Fortune that the butterflies are a symbol for the Comfort Women and “signify hope and freedom from discrimination.”