Brave Lola Fidencia tells horrible story to a church congregation
By Maelyne Abrenica
There was not a dry eye in the house when Lola Fidencia David came to speak at Forest Hill United Church in Toronto on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013. Opening her talk with a brief prayer and humble apology, she explained that she only spoke Tagalog and had never before spoken for a church congregation. With Cristina Lope YL Rosello at her side providing the translation, she set the scene of what life was like when she was only 14 and when Japanese soldiers descended in their area during the Second World War.
She described how she was taken by a Japanese soldier after going to the market with her grandmother and got separated from her. Initially resisting, she found out the hard way the price of doing so – she was slapped in the face and was slashed near her right ear. She was taken to a garrison where she was confined with other girls and women. They were forced to cook and clean for the soldiers and soon she discovered the worst part of her captivity – the sexual abuse. Daily, in the evenings, she would be repeatedly raped. Her grandmother had attempted to demand her release but ended up being taken captive as well. It was during this time that Lola Fidencia witnessed the rape of her own grandmother.
Filipino guerillas in the area resisted against the Japanese and fought them in gun battle. Unfortunately this caused the Japanese soldiers to turn their anger towards their Filipina captives. During one fierce gun fight Lola Fidencia watched her grandmother gunned down by one of the Japanese soldiers. As she cried and tried to run away she was dragged to a grassy field where she was raped again.
Hearing Lola Fidencia describe these events was heartbreaking. Overcome with emotion, she would get choked up, understandably shaken, recalling the horrific events of her past. Even though it has been decades since the end of the Second World War, it was plain to see that the effects of it left scars that can never be erased. As the congregation of Forest Hill United Church continued to listen to Lola Fidencia, the disbelief and horror and pain was overcome by admiration and deep amazement. The silence in the room and the occasional sniffling of tears did nothing but affirm the empathy of the audience toward this strong, brave and heroic woman, whose strength could serve as an example to us all. It was an honour and a blessing to be able to listen to this 87-year old tell her story and I know that we were all thankful to be in the presence of this remarkable woman. Her story is one that should be shared, not just by Filipinos but by everyone.