Rina Gonoi, a former member of Japan's armed forces, received the U.S. Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award for leading a public campaign against sexual harassment, the State Department said Friday.

"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," the department said in a statement listing the awardees. Gonoi was sexually assaulted while serving in Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and First Lady Jill Biden will host an annual ceremony at the White House for the award on Monday. Other awardees include women from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Iran and Myanmar.

Rina Gonoi, a former member of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force, speaks to reporters in front of the Fukushima District Court in the northeastern city of Fukushima on Dec. 12, 2023, after the court convicted three former GSDF members for acts of sexual indecency in 2021 committed against her. Gonoi made the rare move of coming forward to report the offenses. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Since 2007, more than 190 women from 90 countries have been recognized with the prize, according to the department.

Gonoi, 24, who is scheduled to attend the ceremony, is the first Japanese woman in nine years to be selected as a recipient of the award. In 2015, Japanese activist Sayaka Osakabe was commended for her fight against "maternity harassment," or unfair treatment of pregnant working women.

Gonoi came forward in 2022 as a victim of long-term sexual harassment and abuse by colleagues in her unit. Her actions drew attention and led Japan's Defense Ministry to receive more than 1,400 reports of sexual and other forms of harassment within the Self-Defense Forces.

In December, a Japanese court found three former male colleagues of Gonoi guilty of sexual indecency.

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