Rape, War, and the Socialization of Masculinity: Why Our Refusal to Give Up War Ensures that Rape Cannot Be Eradicated


Zurbriggen, Eileen L. 2010. “Rape, War, and the Socialization of Masculinity: Why Our Refusal to Give Up War Ensures That Rape Cannot Be Eradicated.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 34 (4): 538–49.

Author: Eileen L. Zurbriggen


Rape is endemic during war, suggesting that there may be important conceptual links between the two. A theoretical model is presented positing that rape and war are correlated because traditional (hegemonic) masculinity underlies, and is a cause of, both. An analysis of the literatures on masculinity, rape perpetration, and military socialization is conducted to support this model. Particular elements of traditional masculinity that are implicated include status and achievement; toughness and aggression; restricted emotionality; and power, dominance, and control. It is argued that society’s need for effective soldiers is the root cause of traditional masculine socialization and that this socialization ensures that rape will be prevalent. Possible strategies to minimize rape while preserving traditional masculine socialization are discussed.However, it is concluded that as long as most nations rely on warfare to respond to geopolitical conflict, rape prevention efforts will necessarily have only limited success.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, Rape, SV against Women

Year: 2010

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