Embodiment of Terror: Gendered Violence in Peacetime and Wartime in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina

Citation:

Olujic, Maria B. 1998. “Embodiment of Terror: Gendered Violence in Peacetime and Wartime in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.” Medical Anthropology Quarterly 12 (1): 31–50.

Author: Maria B. Olujic

Abstract:

Gendered violence is not a special type of torture used only in war. Its roots are well established in peacetime. This article discusses parallels between the patterns of everyday domination and aggression during times of peace and war. Further, it discusses how metaphors and acts of rape in peacetime are transformed into symbols and acts of rape for wartime purposes. During peacetime the individual body, especially its essence--sexuality and reproduction--becomes the symbol of everyday domination and aggression. Wartime transforms individual bodies into social bodies as seen, for example, in genocidal rapes or ethnic cleansing, which are thought to purify the bloodlines. Then, institutions--that is, medical, religious, and government establishments--further reinforce the wartime process by manipulating the individual/social body into the body politic by controlling and defining "human life" and using political rapes to entice military action by the West. The final transformation (at the war's conclusion) is the reformation of the social body back into the individual body, making the individual body once again the focus of dominance and aggression as the acceptable social "order."

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Religion, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women, Sexuality, Torture, Sexual Torture Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia

Year: 1998

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