Rape as an Act of Genocide


Russel-Brown, Sherrie. 2003. “Rape as an Act of Genocide.” Berkeley Journal of International Law 21 (3): 350-73.

Author: Sherrie Russel-Brown


Like all rape, genocidal rape is particular as well as part of the generic, and its particularity matters. This is ethnic rape as an official policy of war in a genocidal campaign for political control. That means not only a policy of the pleasure of male power unleashed, which happens all the time in so-called peace; not only a policy to defile, torture, humiliate, degrade, and demoralize the other side, which happens all the time in war; and not only a policy of men posturing to gain advantage and ground over other men. It is specifically rape under orders. This is not rape out of control. It is rape under control. It is also rape unto death, rape as massacre, rape to kill and to make the victims wish they were dead. It is rape as an instrument of forced exile, rape to make you leave your home and never want to go back. It is rape to be seen and heard and watched and told to others; rape as spectacle. It is rape to drive a wedge through a community, to shatter a society, to destroy a people. It is rape as genocide.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnicity, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Genocide, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, Rape, Torture, Sexual Torture

Year: 2003

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