The Vulnerability of the Penis: Sexual Violence against Men in Conflict and Security Frames

Citation:

Clark, Janine Natalya. 2017. "The Vulnerability of the Penis: Sexual Violence against Men in Conflict and Security Frames." Men and Masculinities 22 (5): 778-800.

Author: Janine Natalya Clark

Abstract:

Sexual violence remains a persistent scourge of war. The use of sexual violence against men in armed conflict, however, remains underresearched and is often sidelined. As an explanation, this interdisciplinary article situates the issue of sexual violence against men within a new analytical framework. It does so through a focus on the core subtext which this violence reveals—the vulnerability of the penis. Highlighting critical disconnects between what the penis is and what it is constructed as being, it argues that the vulnerable penis destabilizes the edifice of phallocentric masculinity, and hence it has wider security implications. Conflict-related sexual violence has increasingly been securitized within the framework of human security. The concept of human security, however, is deeply gendered and often excludes male victims of sexual violence. This gendering, in turn, reflects a broader gendered relationship between sexual violence and security. Sexual violence against women manifests and reaffirms their long-recognized vulnerability in war. Sexual violence against men, in contrast, exposes the vulnerability of the penis and thus represents a deeper security threat. Fundamentally, preserving the integrity and power of the phallus is critical to the security and integrity of phallocentric masculinity and thus to maintaining a systemic stability that is crucial in situations of war and armed conflict.

Keywords: bodies, conflict, hegemonic masculinity, performativity, violence, war

Topics: Armed Conflict, Conflict, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Security, Human Security, Sexual Violence, SV against men, Violence

Year: 2017

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