About the BookAward winning book is based on real-life accounts, Imelda's Secret delves into the story of two cousins, who are 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 stolen from their families and stripped of their dignity. The stories of these women have been swept under the rug for far too long.
Book SynopsisAward winning book is based on real-life accounts, Imelda's Secret delves into the story of two cousins who are 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 stolen from their families and stripped of their dignity. The stories of these women have been swept under the rug for far too long. Imelda's Secret is a story of story of hope, redemption, and strength. It exposes the experiences of 'comfort women' in the hopes of sparking awareness and advocacy in all who read it.
About the AuthorLiza Gino is an author, entrepreneur, advocate, and change agent. Liza Gino grew up in a small town in the Philippines to a large family with no shortage of uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents. Growing up, her extended family gave her the experience and tradition that is steeped in the Catholic faith. Her upbringing afforded her the understanding of family dynamics, hierarchy, and due order. Filipino values can be complicated and chastity is a premium. Having to put chastity over family can be challenging, thus making the plight of Filipina comfort women arduous. There was no shortage of stories about the Japanese occupation from her family and friends. Narratives of what one had to endure, especially for women to survive, impressed upon her. She was shocked to realize that very few were aware of the saga of the comfort women. It was the associated shame of the act that women decided to bury the truth. These stories provoked her to write this novel. Liza believed that everyone should be aware of the plight of the comfort women and help them reveal the truth; to set aside taboos, ignorance, and even personal pride in order to help and support all women who were victims of sexual tyranny. As a graduate of the University of the Philippines, it awakened her radicalism and activism. She wanted to be an agent of change, especially for women. She believed that by having the mindset changed, women could demand to be respected and cherished. She proposed the idea that they deserve a place under the sun to thrive and be contributing members to humanity. Imelda's Secret is Liza's way to imbue a message of change and inspire advocacy. When these women were abused, their fundamental rights to life, freedom, health, and peace of mind were forcibly taken from them as well. The author hopes that this novel would have the exposure that would bring acknowledgement, validation and respect on a global scale of the stories of the comfort women. The fictional stories of Gloria and Imelda will hopefully give prominence to the true saga of the real victims of war so that their sacrifices and the raping of their lives are no longer a buried secret in history. Cofounder, Comfort Women Justice Coalition President, Comfort Women Justice Coalition Clinical Psychologist. Filipinx Mental Health Initiative-Solano. Mental Health Advocate. Proud Daughter of Immigrants.