On the Battlefield of Women’s Bodies: An Overview of the Harm of War to Women


Hynes, H. Patricia. 2004. “On the Battlefield of Women’s Bodies: An Overview of the Harm of War to Women.” Women’s Studies International Forum 27 (5–6): 431–45.

Author: H. Patricia Hynes


By the 1990s, 9 of 10 people who died in war from direct and indirect effects were civilians. Bombs and weapons of modern war kill and maim civilian women in equal numbers to civilian men. A unique harm of war for women is the trauma inflicted in military brothels, rape camps, and the growing sex trafficking for prostitution and by increased domestic violence, all of which is fueled by the culture of war, male aggression, and the social and economic ruin left in the wake of war. Widows of war, women victims of landmines, and women refugees of war are particularly vulnerable to poverty, prostitution, the extortion of sex for food by post-war peacekeepers, and higher illness and death in the post-conflict period. While problems exist with definitions and methods of measurement, a full accounting of the harm of war to civilian women is needed in the debate over whether war is justified.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Domestic Violence, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, SV against Women, Trafficking, Sex Trafficking

Year: 2004

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