Languages of Castration – Male Genital Mutilation in Conflict and Its Embedded Messages


Myrttinen, Henri. 2018. "Languages of Castration – Male Genital Mutilation in Conflict and Its Embedded Messages." In Sexual Violence Against Men in Global Politics, edited by Marysia Zalewski, Paula Drumond, Elisabeth Prugl, and Maria Stern. London: Routledge.

Author: Henri Myrttinen


This chapter explores the various forms of violence directed against male sexual/reproductive organs in different settings of violent conflict and some of the meanings attached to these acts in these contexts by the various people partaking in the act directly either as victims/survivors, perpetrator, and witnesses or indirectly as audiences. The tendency to not discuss acts of violence against male genital mutilation and its real-life repercussions even where there is evidence of these acts has the potential to render whole categories of victims/survivors invisible. Another key problem with interpreting the ‘languages of castration’ is a lack of research on perpetrator motivations as well as on victims’ and community members’ understandings of the violence and its meanings. The chapter focuses on a review of secondary materials, in addition to which some background interviews were conducted with academic researchers and NGO practitioners working on sexual violence against men and boys (SVAMB) as well as informal discussions with investigators working for international agencies.

Topics: Conflict, Gender, Men, Boys, Health, Reproductive Health, International Organizations, Male Victims, NGOs, Sexual Violence, SV against Men

Year: 2018

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at