Many in our country take freedom for granted. Many of us have never had to deal with an oppressing government that controlled every facet of their life, and treated women as nothing but usable artifacts that were tossed to the side like garbage. Yeonmi Park had to endure that kind of abuse first hand in North Korea. Yeonmi recounts her disturbing events in her book “In Order To Live”.
Yeonmi was born in the North Korean city of Hyesan when the Kim dictatorship was the force around so much famine, brutal treatment of women and even death. At this time in North Korea, woman were used as prostitutes and sold into forced marriages and Park was one of the unfortunate souls that was in the middle. Park was witness to, and a part of, the brutal treatment of human beings that was in many ways, compared to the treatment of Jews during the holocaust. She recounts her childhood in much detail until her defection to China at age 13. Park states that even in Northern parts of China, Korean woman were treated as something that could be traded or disposed of.
Park and her mother were finally able to reunite and travel across the Gobi together to freedom. She now studies criminal justice in South Korea and is working as an activist. She recently spoke on The Reason TV about her experiences at the UN Human Rights Session on North Korea. She is recovering well and hopes that her book will shed more light on such a dim country in order to prevent other woman from experiencing the same brutality and she and her family did.