Rina Gonoi’s “Unforgivable Words” from the Assailant Who Said, “You Didn’t Shake Your Hips” and Offered a Settlement
Exclusive] Still, I want to believe that the SDF can change.
I was so nervous. My mind went blank during the press conference…”
Rina Gonoi, 23, a former Japan Self-Defense Force officer who has accused the Ministry of Sexual Harassment while serving in the Self-Defense Forces, using her real name and exposing her face, showed a slightly relieved smile after her press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on December 19, 2011. The press conference was attended not only by reporters from foreign news agencies, but also by many journalists from Japanese TV and newspaper companies, who listened to every word she said.
I respect her for having the courage to tell us about her painful and painful experience.
Some of the journalists who took questions began by saying, “I respect you for having the courage to tell us what you went through.
Gonoi joined the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force in April 2020, when she was 20 years old, because she wanted to master judo, which she had started at age 5, and because she admired female Self-Defense Force officers who supported her after the Great East Japan Earthquake, when she herself was a victim. After six months of training, she was assigned to the Koriyama Garrison in September 2020. Immediately after that, she was repeatedly sexually harassed by several senior male members of her unit.
“In the unit I was in, sexual harassment was practiced like ‘communication.’ When I was walking down the corridor, I was suddenly grabbed by the chest or made to touch the male members’ crotch through their clothes.
Then, in August 2021, in a tent in the mountains where she was training, she suffered a decisive blow. She returned home from training. She reported the incident to her superiors, but there was no investigation within the organization, and in June of this year, she resigned from the Self-Defense Forces.
Spectacular sexual violence in front of many people
During training, men and women are treated equally. But at the banquet after training, the female members were responsible for food and drink preparation. And when the alcohol gets too much…”
The damage inflicted on Ms. Gonoi here was spectacular.
It often happens that there are a dozen or so male members and one or two women,” she said. At that time, in such a drinking party situation, I was pushed down in front of everyone and pressed against their hips in a normal position (for sexual intercourse). It went on and on, and the person who was in a position to be my boss did not stop me, but rather encouraged me to do so.
No one helped.
The assailant member said, “You didn’t shake your hips, did you?”
After she retired, she accused the victim of the damage under her own name, but of course she also reported the damage within the SDF organization while she was still in service. The organization could not have been “unaware” of the damage.
But nothing was done to improve the situation.
When she had the courage to speak out, the male member of the group who had done the damage told Ms. Gonoi that he had been “pushed down” by her and that he “didn’t know” about it.
When she courageously made her accusations, the male assailant repeatedly insisted to Ms. Gonoi, “There may have been such an act [as pushing her down], but you didn’t shake your hips, did you?
I didn’t shake my hips,” he repeatedly insisted to Ms. Gonoi. I didn’t feel any remorse.
The “300,000 yen settlement” proposal and one unforgivable “one word”
There is a reason why she was able to stand up and file a lawsuit against the Self-Defense Forces, even though she had thought about dying due to the humiliation and despair she suffered as a member of the organization she had longed to join.
I still don’t hate the Self-Defense Forces,” she said. There are many people I really respect among the JSDF officers. So I want the SDF to make mistakes. Harassment is not only a problem for women. Men can also be victims of power harassment and sexual harassment. I want the SDF to be a workplace where everyone can work, regardless of gender, not just where women can work comfortably.
It was in August of this year that she gathered signatures online and submitted a request to the Ministry of Defense for a “re-investigation. On August 15, the five members who were accused of sexual harassment were given a “disciplinary dismissal.
I want the harassers to admit their guilt and apologize, and I want the SDF to improve. If I had not made the accusation under my own name, the issue would not have been raised, and the harassers would have been left in peace.
He has been fighting alone, without any support group. Rina Gonoi” revealed her real name and made the accusation by showing her face. In contrast, the names of the members who committed sexual violence are not disclosed. The perpetrators have lawyered up and offered to settle the case.
The settlement amount they offered was 300,000 yen per person. I don’t know whether this is high or low. I don’t know whether it is high or low, but they said, ‘I wonder if you are responsible as an individual. These words surprised me, and I was filled with anger.
Mr. Gonoi says he is now considering taking the case to civil court. Some people recommend filing a claim for state compensation. But he has yet to decide whether to take the case to court.
Some people ask me why I am hesitant to go to court when I have suffered such terrible damage. Why? I want to live my life. I don’t know if it is good for me to go to trial and spend my time, energy, and willpower on that…”
Rina Gonoi’s Dream
She says she had “no hesitation” at all in filing the accusation.
I have been acting selflessly up to this point, thinking about how to get an apology from the perpetrator. I wanted the perpetrator to apologize. I wanted my life back.
But I hope that it will be a society where people don’t have to raise their voices, not that it is courageous to do so. I believe that the SDF can change. If I don’t believe that, there is no meaning in my accusation. If they don’t change, they will be in trouble.
And from now on, I want to live my life as just Rina Gonoi, not as Rina Gonoi who accused the SDF of sexual harassment. I would be even happier if it was “Judo no Gonoi.
I love judo and making people laugh,” she said, smiling wryly.