Rina Gonoi

Rina Gonoi

“Courage is the determination to keep going. Speak out. Take action. Trust yourself. Stick to your convictions. Show consideration. Have a positive outlook on life.”

At the age of 11, Rina Gonoi and her family were victims of the tragic triple disaster in Japan. When a female Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) officer assisted Rina and her family during the evacuation, Ms. Gonoi was inspired to follow in the officer’s footsteps and join the JSDF herself, which she did in 2020. Despite fulfilling her dream of serving the nation, 18 months later, Ms. Gonoi was compelled to resign after enduring long-term sexual harassment and abuse by members of her own unit. When her claims went unanswered, she launched a public campaign that thrust sexual harassment and accountability into the national discourse and shined a light on an otherwise taboo subject in traditional Japanese society. Her bravery to take on social norms emboldened countless survivors of abuse to come forward with their own stories so that they no longer suffered in silence. Based on Ms. Gonoi’s push for meaningful reform, the JSDF is building a more secure workplace so that Japanese of any gender can defend their country with dignity.

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