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Rape

Restrained or Constrained? Elections, Communal Conflicts, and Variation in Sexual Violence

Citation:

Krause, Jana. 2020. “Restrained or Constrained? Elections, Communal Conflicts, and Variation in Sexual Violence.” Journal of Peace Research 57 (1): 185–98.

Author: Jana Krause

Abstract:

Anecdotal evidence suggests that sexual violence varies significantly across cases of election violence and communal conflicts but systematic research is scarce. Post-election violence is particularly likely if electoral mobilization further polarizes longstanding communal conflicts and political elites do not instruct security forces to intervene decisively. I comparatively analyse two prominent cases of post-election violence in Kenya (2007/8) and Nigeria (2008) that exhibit stark variation in sexual violence. Patrimonial networks and norms of violent masculinity that increase the probability of (gang) rape were present in both cases and do not explain variation. Civil war research has identified three explanations for the variation in sexual violence: situational constraints; ordered sexual violence or restraint; and bottom-up dynamics of sexual violence or restraint. I examine these for the context of post-election violence. I argue that the type of communal conflict triggered by electoral mobilization explains variation in sexual violence. In Kenya, pogroms of a majority group against a minority allowed for the time and space to perpetrate widespread sexual violence while in Nigeria, dyadic clashes between similarly strong groups offered less opportunity but produced a significantly higher death toll. These findings have important implications for preventing election violence. They demonstrate that civilian vulnerability is gendered and that high levels of sexual violence do not necessarily correspond to high levels of lethal violence. Ignoring sexual violence means underestimating the real intensity of conflict and its impact on the political process.

Keywords: communal conflict, election violence, Kenya, Nigeria, rape, sexual violence

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Conflict, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Governance, Elections, Sexual Violence, Rape, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Kenya, Nigeria

Year: 2020

Between Despair and Hope: Women and Violence in Contemporary Guyana

Citation:

Trotz, D. Alissa. 2004. “Between Despair and Hope: Women and Violence in Contemporary Guyana.” Small Axe 8 (1): 1–20.

Author: D. Alissa Trotz

Abstract:

The immediate aftermath of the 1997 and 2001 elections in Guyana was marked by violence, most of which targeted members of the Indo-Guyanese community. While far more men than women were directly assaulted in the recent waves of political violence, this essay specifically addresses the violence that women experience as members of racially marked communities and asks three questions: How is gender implicated in racialized electoral violence and community responses to such assaults? How can we account for women's different responses to violence? How might we begin to realistically construct a viable opposition against all forms of violence against women? I begin by outlining some gendered aftereffects of the 1997 and 2001 elections. As a way of making sense of these events, I raise some questions about colonial inheritances and contemporary inequalities in an effort to suggest linkages between pasts and presents, private and public domains. I then explore how women come to symbolize racialized difference, and the investments women themselves may have in such self-other notions, as racialized subjects who are gendered female. The final section draws on the work of Red Thread, a women's organization in Guyana, in an effort to stimulate discussion of antiracist and antiviolence work that centrally acknowledges differences among women. The example is used here not as a final word on the subject but rather as a provisional gesture toward inclusion and conversation.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Governance, Elections, NGOs, Race, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women, Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Guyana

Year: 2004

Rethinking Rape: The Role of Women in Wartime Violence

Citation:

Loken, Meredith. 2017. “Rethinking Rape: The Role of Women in Wartime Violence.” Security Studies 26 (1): 60–92.

Author: Meredith Loken

Abstract:

There is widespread variation in scope, scale, and forms of rape across and within conflicts. One explanation focuses on the integration of women in armed groups. Scholars and international organizations posit that the inclusion of women in armed groups discourages wartime rape. They advocate women’s increased participation to combat rape and other forms of civilian violence. Using an original dataset of women’s involvement as combatants in civil wars from 1980 to 2009, I argue that the participation of female fighters has no significant impact in constraining an armed group’s propensity to rape. Female combatants do not lessen rape because organizational factors, primarily culture, drive violence in armed factions and encourage conformity irrespective of individual characteristics. Advocating further militarization of women in an attempt to reduce conflict-related rape may be an ineffective policy prescription.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender-Based Violence, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Sexual Violence, Rape, Violence

Year: 2017

Legitimizing Military Action through “Rape-as-a-Weapon” Discourse in Libya: Critical Feminist Analysis

Citation:

Kolmasova, Sarka, and Katerina Krulisova. 2019. "Legitimizing Military Action through “Rape-as-a-Weapon” Discourse in Libya: Critical Feminist Analysis." Politics & Gender 15 (1): 130-50.

Authors: Sarka Kolmasova, Katerina Krulisova

Abstract:

Contemporary discourse on sexual(ized) violence in armed conflicts represents a powerful source for legitimization of highly controversial military interventions. Recent gender-responsive security studies have called for enhanced protection of women and girls from widespread and systematic sexual(ized) violence. Yet military operations reproduce the Western masculine hegemony rather than providing inclusive and apolitical assistance to victims of sexual assault. The article aims to critically assess discourse on sexual violence in a case of military intervention in Libya initiated under the rubric of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). The case study indicates a set of discursive strategies exercised by Western political representatives and nongovernmental organizations and even more expressively by the media to legitimize the military campaign. Typically, sexual(ized) violence is presented as a weapon of war, used by one of the conflicting parties without an adequate response of the state. This is followed by urgent calls for international action, willingly carried out by Western powers. The simplified narrative of civilized protectors versus savage aggressors must be challenged as it exploits the problem of sexual(ized) violence in order to legitimize politically motivated actions.

Topics: Gender, Masculinity/ies, Media, Governance, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, NGOs, Sexual Violence, Rape, Weapons /Arms Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa Countries: Libya

Year: 2019

The Body Weaponized: War, Sexual Violence and the Uncanny

Citation:

Kirby, Paul. 2020. "The Body Weaponized: War, Sexual Violence and the Uncanny." Security Dialogue 51 (2-3): 211-30.

Author: Paul Kirby

Abstract:

It is today common to argue that rape is a weapon, tool or instrument of warfare. One implication is that armed groups marshal body parts for tactical and strategic ends. In this article, I interrogate this discourse of embodied mobilization to explore how body weaponry has been made intelligible as a medium for sexual violence. First, I show that, despite wide rejection of essentialist models, the penis and penis substitutes continue to occupy a constitutive role in discussions of sexual violence in both political and academic fora, where they are often said to be like weapons, a tendency I term ‘weapon talk’. Second, I trace the image of the body weapon in key threads of feminist theorizing and commentary, to show how the penis has appeared as a ‘basic weapon of force’ in various permutations. Third, I explore the weaponization of the body as it appears in military thought and in the cultural circulation of ideas about the soldiering body in which sexual pleasure and violence are frequently conflated. Building on this foundation, I propose that these literatures collectively describe an uncanny weapon object, and I draw out the significance of this term for feminist security studies and martial empiricism. In short, the uncanny haunts accounts of sexual violence in the collision of sexuality and machinery in the image of a body weapon, in the unsettling designation of sexuality as itself both familiar and dangerous, and in the strange movement of violent bodies across the boundary between wartime and peacetime. A concluding discussion draws out implications and challenges for thinking about embodied violence, advocating renewed attention to the history of weaponization as a fallible and confounding process.

Keywords: critical war studies, embodiment, feminism, phenomenology, uncanny, wartime sexual violence

Topics: Feminisms, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Security, Sexual Violence, Rape, Violence, Weapons /Arms

Year: 2020

Women in Post-Conflict Niger-Delta of Nigeria: Amnesty versus Restorative Justice

Citation:

Abimbola, Foluke Oluyemisi. 2019. "Women in Post-Conflict Niger-Delta of Nigeria: Amnesty versus Restorative Justice." Journal of Law and Criminal Justice 7 (1): 23-34.

Author: Foluke Oluyemisi Abimbola

Abstract:

The Niger-Delta of Nigeria is known for violence and conflicts as a result of opposition of militant groups to oil exploration activities concentrated in this area of Nigeria. The militant groups are still agitating for a share of the oil revenue and for the development of their region. Women in the Niger-Delta of Nigeria have experienced different levels of violence and torture during these conflict situations. Some of the crimes perpetrated against women during these conflicts are rape, forced labour, sex slavery, and brutal murder of their family members. In addition, during conflict situations and even thereafter, the women experience a deeper level of poverty as a result of their inability to continue with their economic activities such as farming or fishing due to displacements caused by the conflict as most of the women living in the Niger-Delta rural communities are subsistence farmers. Following years of insurgency by angry militants against the Nigerian government, the amnesty strategy was eventually mapped out by the government of the day in order to give the militant youth economic opportunities to stem the tide of conflicts. However, the vast majority of women and girls who were and are still victims of these conflicts were not included. This paper shall highlight the need for restorative justice especially for women who are victims of the insurgency. Whereas amnesty seeks to give a better future to the militants, the women are unable to recover effectively with little or no means of indemnifying their losses. This paper proposes restitution or compensation for victims while creating constructive roles for victims in the criminal justice process.

Keywords: women, Niger Delta, post-conflict mechanisms, amnesty, restorative justice

Topics: Age, Youth, Agriculture, Displacement & Migration, Economies, Poverty, Conflict, Resource Conflict, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Governance, Justice, Torture, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Slavery, SV against women, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2019

'What Is Wrong with Men?’: Revisiting Violence against Women in Conflict and Peacebuilding

Citation:

Pankhurst, Donna. 2016. “‘What Is Wrong with Men?’: Revisiting Violence against Women in Conflict and Peacebuilding.” Peacebuilding 4 (2): 180–93.

Author: Donna Pankhurst

Abstract:

Much has been written about the high rates of rape and other forms of violence against ‘enemy’ women in wartime and sustained violence against women in post-war contexts. Research on violence against women, recognised as a problem for peace and development and even a threat to international security, has begun to identify and explain contrasts between different locations. The explanations focus on men, their behaviour and ‘masculinities’, some of which, and even some military codes, may even proscribe such violence. By contrast, research on the mental health of male former combatants, and possibly other male survivors of war trauma, suggests that there is a strong risk of them perpetrating violence specifically against women, even in cases where the highest standard of veteran care is expected, but without much explanation. This article considers what potential there is in this topic for lessons in peacebuilding policy and identifies areas for future research.

Keywords: sexual violence, gender, war, peacebuilding, masculinity, men, ex-combatants, veterans, soldiers

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Health, Mental Health, Peacebuilding, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women

Year: 2016

The Gender Dimensions of Violence and Conflict: The Case of Inter-Ethnic Land Conflict in Mt. Elgon, Kenya

Citation:

Kimkung, Pamela and Cristina Espinosa. 2012. "The Gender Dimensions of Violence and Conflict: The Case of Inter-Ethnic Land Conflict in Mt. Elgon, Kenya." International Journal of Development and Conflict 2 (3).

Authors: Pamela Kimkung, Cristina Espinosa

Abstract:

The violence displayed during the inter-ethnic land conflicts in Mount Elgon–which started in 2005 and escalated in the midst of the nation-wide 2007 Post Election Violence–reveals not only the limits of post-colonial states to reverse the colonial expropriation of land that destroyed indigenous land tenure systems and accentuated inter-ethnic conflicts; it reveals the gender dimensions of the conflict, where men and women were differently affected before, during, and after the conflict. While gender and sexual based violence (GSBV) was not restricted to women there were important differences that confirms the subordinated status of women and the heavier cost they had to pay. While men were also subjected to GSBV in the form of torture and/or castration it was mostly some young men who were targeted for this abuse. By contrast, women raped and sexually abused ranged from little girls to old women, since women of all age were targeted for GSBV; while men experienced GSBV only during the conflict as inflicted either by enemies or the army, women experienced GSBV before, during, and after the conflict. Not only did they experience it from the militia, the army or the camp's guards but also from their own husbands in the form of domestic sexual violence; women also carried the stigma of rape and abuse forever after the episodes. While SGBV seriously challenged the masculinity of those individual men affected, it did not challenged the patriarchal hierarchies that keep women and girls subordinated, unable to find a nurturing environment to heal their wounds after the conflict. On the contrary, after the GSBV and abuse, women faced stigma and isolation and severe health issues in a context of social disruption of family, kin, and clan structures. The different ways men and women were affected by the conflict has severe implications for the post-conflict interventions which being gender-blind, have not been gender neutral, reinforcing female subordination and trauma among the survivors of the conflict. Some reflections on how to make post-conflict interventions more gender-sensitive are also presented.

Keywords: gender and sexual based violence, gender and post-conflict interventions, inter-ethnic land conflict and gender

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Conflict, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Post-Conflict, Rights, Indigenous Rights, Land Rights, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Torture Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 2012

Impacts of Violent Rapes among Women in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

Citation:

Mirindi, Benoit Munganga. 2018. "Impacts of Violent Rapes among Women in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo." PhD diss., Walden University.

Author: Benoit Munganga Mirindi

Abstract:

For the last 22 years, systematic rapes and punitive violence against women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were utilized as weapons of war and a control strategy. This quantitative study built upon the ecological model of impact of sexual assault on women’s mental health to investigate the relationship between the health impacts and chronic pain and depression among women survivors of sexual rape in eastern DRC. The sample included 156 female rape survivors, between 18–80 years old, and raped between 2010 and 2014 while residing in the conflict area. The research questions focused on the association between fistulas, other sexual rape-related injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), feelings of worthlessness, social rejection, support from family/friends, and chronic pain and depression among women victims of sexual rape in eastern DRC. Results from multinomial logistic regression and ordinal regression tests showed strong links between independent and dependent variables: Fistula was strongly linked with chronic illness over 6 months (p = 0.003), and with upset all the time (p = 0.033); PTSD was associated with chronic illness due to violent rapes ( p = 0.004) and sadness (p = 0.000); feelings of worthlessness was related to prolonged illness over 6 months (p = 0.024) and feeling blue (p = 0.006); social rejection was linked to avoidance (p = 0.003); and support from family/friends was associated with prolonged illness over 6 months (p = 0.025) and lack of excitement (p = 0.011). The results of this study could assist health care providers in formulating response strategies for identifying public health priorities in conflict area, addressing health needs, and defining approaches for reducing war-related sexual violence, chronic pain, and depression among rape survivors.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Conflict, Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, PTSD, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women, Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2018

Conflict-Related Violence against Women

Citation:

Swaine, Aisling. 2018. Conflict-Related Violence against Women. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Author: Aisling Swaine

Abstract:

By comparatively assessing three conflict-affected jurisdictions (Liberia, Northern Ireland and Timor-Leste), Conflict-Related Violence against Women empirically and theoretically expands current understanding of the form and nature of conflict-time harms impacting women. The 'violences' that occur in conflict beyond strategic rape are first identified. Employing both a disaggregated and an aggregated approach, relations between forms of violence within and across each context's pre-, mid- and post-conflict phase are then assessed, identifying connections and distinctions in violence. Swaine highlights a wider spectrum of conflict-related violence against women than is currently acknowledged. She identifies a range of forces that simultaneously push open and close down spaces for addressing violence against women through post-conflict transitional justice. The book proposes that in the aftermath of conflict, a transformation rather than a transition is required if justice is to play a role in preventing gendered violence before conflict and its appearance during and after conflict.

Annotation:

Table of Contents: 
Part I: Introduction
1. Introduction
 
Part II: Approaches to Understanding Conflict-Related Violence against Women
2. Historic Prevalence Verses Contemporary Celebrity: Sexing Dichotomies in Today's Wars
 
3. Who Wins the Worst Violence Contest? Armed Conflict and Violence in Northern Ireland, Liberia, and Timor-Leste
 
Part III: Violence against Women Before, During, and After Conflict
4. Beyond Strategic Rape: Expanding Conflict-Related Violence Against Women
 
5. Connections and Distinctions: Ambulant Violence Across Pre-, During-, and Post-Conflict Contexts
 
6. Seeing Violence in the Aftermath: What's Labeling Got to Do with It?
 
Part IV: Justice, Transition, and Transformation
7. Transitions and Violence After Conflict: Transitional Justice
 
8. Conclusion: Transforming Transition

Topics: Armed Conflict, Conflict, Gender, Women, Justice, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa, Europe, Western Europe, Oceania Countries: Ireland, Liberia, Timor-Leste

Year: 2018

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