By Liza Gino

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 14, 2020 — In commemoration of the upcoming 75th anniversary of the Philippines liberation from Japan at the end of World War II, new novel Imelda’s Secret by Liza Gino reveals an underlying and seldom recognized history of this war: “comfort women.”

Forced into sexual slavery, comfort women were abducted from their families and coerced to “sexually service” Japanese military personnel. It’s estimated that as many as 400,000 girls and women in over 30 countries, including China, Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, were abducted. Imelda’s Secret is a novel based on real-life accounts and delves into the fictional stories of two cousins of an affluent family, Imelda and Gloria, who are grappling with the emotional scars of being forced to serve as comfort women during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in WWII.

Imelda’s Secret is set to release on November 20th and will be available for purchase as an e- book on Amazon Kindle for $14.99, as well as in paperback on the Imelda’s Secret website for $32.99. Paperback copies purchased on the Imelda’s Secret website will be signed by Gino, and readers will have the option to add a personal dedication in the book as well. Also, pre-orders for the book will begin on October 20th; this date was chosen to commemorate the launch of the Philippines liberation campaign on October 20, 1944.

“The stories of comfort women have been swept under the rug for far too long. To think for even a moment that a human being can be reduced to being thought of as ‘military supply’ for countless soldiers and have their dignity, fundamental rights to life, freedom, health, and peace of mind forcibly taken from them is to imagine the unimaginable of all nightmares,” said Gino. “Imelda’s Secret exposes the experiences of these women in the hopes of sparking awareness and advocacy in all who read it and igniting progress in their decades-long fight for justice.”

The majority of comfort women died from constant abuse. The 10 percent who survived remained silent for almost 40 years, until Han Soon Kim, a “comfort woman” from Korea, spoke out publicly for the first time in 1991. Since then, hundreds of others have joined her.

In 1992, Maria Rosa Henson became the first Filipino woman to tell her story. Many followed her example, and they did so in the face of and in spite of frequent and uncomfortable public scrutiny and even shaming from their own families. These women formed a group, called Lila Pilipina, in order to obtain recognition and justice from Japan for those who had been sexually enslaved.

Gino hopes that Imelda’s Secret will gain the exposure that would bring acknowledgement, validation and respect on a global scale surrounding the stories of the comfort women. The fictional tales of Imelda and Gloria are meant to give prominence to the true saga of the real victims of war so that their sacrifices are no longer a buried secret.

In addition to the e-book and paperback versions, Imelda’s Secret is also planned to be released in hardback and audiobook this holiday season.

About Imelda’s Secret

Based on real-life accounts, Imelda’s Secret delves into the story of two cousins, who are still grappling with the emotional scars of being forced to serve as “comfort women” during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in World War II. Forced into sexual slavery, comfort women were taken from their families and stripped of their dignity. Imelda’s Secret shines a light on the experiences of comfort women, in the hopes of sparking awareness and advocacy in all who read it. For more information, please visit ImeldasSecret.com.

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