Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Michael Marme, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Caley Johnson, Ph.D.


During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), the Japanese government condoned the forced recruitment and transportation of approximately 200,000 Korean women to be sex slaves for the Japanese Army. Korean “comfort women” suffered greatly under the system and the issue was not known to the public until the early 1990s, when Korean feminist leaders helped 200 Korean “comfort women” survivors come forward and share their experiences. Historians and feminist scholars addressing the “comfort issue” have thoroughly described the comfort system, the conditions Korean “comfort women” faced, and how gender, patriarchy, colonialism, and class come into play in the system’s existence and maintenance. One question left unanswered in the existing research is whether or not the treatment of South Korean women has changed since the comfort system. I argue that attitudes toward South Korean women have changed because of the creation and implementation of new laws, and diverse groups support of sexual violence survivors. Using the case studies: Japan’s military comfort system, the Burning Sun Scandal, and the Nth Room Scandal, I analyze what groups supported sex abuse victims and who was being punished under the law, for what crime, and for how long to show the changing treatment of South Korean women in society. By doing so, I illustrate how sexual exploitation is defined, experienced, and dealt with in Korean society, and explain why South Korean women are treated in a certain way, so we can understand why abuse occurs and make efforts to prevent it.