Who perpetuates the practice of raping local women during war?

US soldiers raped estimated 10,000 women in Okinawa after WWII(*). Many women were also raped by US soldiers in Le Havre, France after the D-day(**). The mayor of Le Havre and the governor of Okinawa both asked the US commanders to set up brothels to prevent local women from being raped. The US refused, basically saying it was something to be ashamed of, although military-controlled brothels were common in European countries. 


Sociologist Shinji Miyadai argues in his preface for the Japanese translation of Magnus Hirschfeld’s “The Sexual History of the World War” that there were 2 reasons for the US military’s decision not to be involved in running brothels.

  • To avoid moral criticism from the US public. The Puritanism permeated in the US society, and the people couldn’t stand the idea of their military involved in running brothels.
  • To cut cost.

Miyadai concludes that they are both extremely egocentric motives.


If, as Amy Stanley insists, there isn’t a huge difference between “volunteering” and ”kidnapping” and it is a crime against humanity for the military to be involved in the management of prostitution(***), then, the best solution would be to refuse their involvement in prostitution facilities, even though setting up such facilities is requested by local governors, and to leave soldiers raping local women. This is what the U.S. military did in Le Havre and Okinawa.  


Stanley not only justifies the US commanders’ decision in Le Havre and Okinawa, but also perpetuates the rape of local women that is probably considered as crimes against humanity by her definition.


3 Dead Marines and a Secret of Wartime Okinawa - The New York Times

* * "What soldiers Do" Mary Louise Roberts



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