The violence of silencing

Orhon Myadar, R. A. Davidson, S. Mollett, M. Fannin

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In December 2020, the International Review of Law and Economics (IRLE) published an article by Harvard law professor J. Mark Ramseyer, ‘Contracting for Sex in the Pacific War’, that is premised on the unsupported and scholarly-consensus-defying claim that thousands of young women and girls mostly from Korea, who ended up in Japanese military ‘comfort women’ stations during the Pacific War, were paid sex workers. Scholars were quick to criticize Ramseyer’s research and the journal’s decision to publish, but we argue that the full significance of the Ramseyer affair can only be seen by situating his article within an historically nuanced understanding about gender-based violence in general and the sexualization and fetisishization of Asian women in particular. We do so by using feminist inquiry to better understand the embodied and intimate experiences of Japan’s ‘comfort women’ scheme and the implications of Ramseyer’s denial of their lived experiences. Our approach attends to the visceral, intimate and affective matters that are clearly overlooked in Ramseyer’s piece.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)880-889
Number of pages10
JournalGender, Place and Culture
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2022


  • Comfort women
  • gendered violence
  • racialized sexism
  • sexual violence
  • victim-blaming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Demography
  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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