Bearing Witness The Apology


The Apology is a 2016 documentary film about women’s experience of sexual violence and rape during war. The film profiles three “comfort women” who were captives of the Japanese army and forced to provide sexual services for its soldiers during World War II. This dark episode of World War II remains a topic of considerable tension between the governments of the involved countries. The filmmaker, Tiffany Hsuing, was motivated to make the film not only because of the experience of women during World War II, but also because of the broader issue of sexual violence against women, past and present, especially during wartime. She believes it is important that these stories be told and that their victims be heard. As she describes,
Knowing that you aren’t alone and that you will be supported after disclosing your past can make the difference between speaking out versus living the rest of your life in silence and carrying the burden and pain of what you experienced as a victim. Society has perpetuated a culture of shame that has resulted in decades, or even lifetimes of silence for survivors of sexual violence.

These days the Me Too and Time’s Up movements are sparking a global dialogue that de-stigmatizes and reframes what it means to be a victim of sexual violence…[The film] is a story for all the survivors who never had the space to be known outside the ugly crimes committed against them. It’s a story that brings to light the millions of untold stories of sexual violence that continue to go unheard.”

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Watch some short clips from The Apology. After watching each clip, you will reflect on a particular detail from the segment by writing a couple of words or a phrase. After watching all 7 clips, you will use your responses to construct a cinquain poem to reflect upon these women’s stories and this episode of World War II history. You can then share the poem anonymously through a Parlay discussion board.


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