Christina A. Sharik


Christina A. Sharik: Some Thoughts Regarding the Female Prisoner of WarThese days, during this Second Gulf War,
if a female soldier is captured or killed
someone will say, I don’t think
women should be in the line of fire
or in a place where capture is
a possibility. Just call me old-fashioned.
But female POWs and casualties
are not new.
I’ve done some research and
found this to be true.
Women have been captured,
raped and tortured, or killed,
by invading and conquering armies for as
long as such things have occurred…

We lump the three words “Prisoner of War”
into POW, a simple-sounding one-syllable word.

There were nurses captured at Corregidor,
women and children captured in Hong Kong,
a woman who died in the jungles of Vietnam
and was buried by a fellow prisoner.

A nurse was taken at Dien Bien Phu –
later released, with a number of wounded,
she stayed with them and was called their “Angel”,
because her honor, loyalty, and her sense of
duty were real and true.

There is a woman still MIA in Vietnam…
she’d been working at a leprosarium.
Women in Europe who resisted the occupation
of their countries, with great courage,
and helped downed pilots escape,
at great risk to themselves.
If caught, they were imprisoned,
tortured and sometimes, killed.

Women band together in such situations
if they can.
The Japanese discovered this when the
women in their camps would sing, and help each other,
when an orphaned child was “adopted”
by a surrogate mother,
and no matter what the Japanese did to their
small communities, they could not break
their spirit.

Lately, we’ve had Shoshanna and Jessica
one black and one white……
who, when shown on television,
eyes wide with pain and fright
caused our hearts to skip a beat.
We brought them home.

There were Civil War women who
became Prisoners of War… on
both sides. Confederate women
who would not accept defeat.

There were all the women
imprisoned at Auschwitz and
Bergen-Belsen and many another sites
who endured, and survived,
numbered, and scarred,
to forever awaken, frightened at night,
rising in the morning light to raise their
children, to remember.

There were Christian women who took
Jewish children in, who were imprisoned
and whose own children were hung
from balconies, until dead.
They placed themselves in harm’s way
because it was the right thing to do, they said.

A woman whose family, whose children
have been harmed, has little to lose,
and is a formidable foe.
It seems there is no weakness in women
that cannot be overcome by loss, you know.

Women who join the military
understand the risk they take.
Just like the men, if they are taken
prisoner, they endure, they rely on faith;
they know the importance of the
choices that they make.

The Female POW is:
Strong, Scared,
Lonely, Courageous, Fierce,
Angry, Loyal, Formidable, Sad;
She may be many things
but she is never Weak.

She’s her parents’ beloved Daughter
A Proud Nation’s Child;
She can be called one of the best we had;
And it is on HER BEHALF I speak.