Female North Korean soldiers are often raped, and some are forced to reuse sanitary pads while many stop menstruating altogether because of the tough conditions suffered during their army duty, a North Korean defector who dealt with years of hellish service in the regime’s army revealed Monday.
Lee So Yeon, who defected to South Korea through China, told the BBC about the 10 years she spent in the North Korean army, a period which began when she was 17. She said she served in the army between 1992 and 2001 and was never raped herself, but many of her comrades suffered sexual abuse.
“The company commander would stay in his room at the unit after hours and rape the female soldiers under his command. This would happen over and over without an end,” Lee told the BBC.
Lee, now 41, said she “enjoyed her life in the army,” but the rigorous training schedules and lack of food were hard on women’s bodies.
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