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Rape

The Challenges of Gendering Genocide: Reflections on a Feminist Politics of Complexity

Citation:

Helms, Elissa. “The Challenges of Gendering Genocide: Reflections on a Feminist Politics of Complexity.” European Journal of Women’s Studies 22 (4): 463–69.

Author: Elissa Helms

Keywords: genocide, Bosnia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia

Annotation:

"When feminists and activists tackle the gendered dynamics of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and contemporary armed conflict, it seems safe to assume that their analyses and interventions are rooted in solidarity with the victims and survivors, in a desire to understand in order to contribute to the eradication of such violence and suffering. Yet some feminist or women-centered positions have sparked serious anxiety and anger among women war survivors and their advocates, rifts in feminist alliances, as well as disturbing political and material consequences for survivors and for the wider societies in which they live. The very collective nature of genocide and ethnicized violence makes them resistant to feminist critique – to scrutiny of the ways in which (ethno-) national collectivities create, and mask, power hierarchies within purported unity (McClintock, 1993) (...) This essay is a reflection on some of the issues and challenges for feminist scholarship and activism that emerge out of critical study of gendered war violence and the politics of collective ethnic and gender victimhood in a postwar setting" (Helms 2015, 463).

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gender-Based Violence, Genocide, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, Rape, SV against Women Regions: Europe, Balkans Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2015

Securing the Nation through the Politics of Sexual Violence: Tracing Resonances between Delhi and Cologne

Citation:

Holzberg, Billy, and Priya Raghavan. 2020. “Securing the Nation through the Politics of Sexual Violence: Tracing Resonances between Delhi and Cologne.” International Affairs 96 (5): 1189–208.

Authors: Billy Holzberg, Priya Raghavan

Abstract:

Postcolonial and black feminist scholars have long cautioned against the dangerous proximity between the politics of sexual violence and the advancement of nationalist and imperial projects. In this article, we uncover what it is in particular about efforts to address sexual violence that makes them so amenable to exclusionary nationalist projects, by attending to the political aftermaths of the rape of Jyoti Singh in Delhi in 2012, and the cases of mass sexual abuse that took place during New Year's Eve in Cologne in 2015. Tracing the nationalist discourses and policies precipitated in their wake, we demonstrate how across both contexts, the response to sexual violence was ultimately to augment the securitizing power and remit of the state—albeit through different mechanisms, and while producing different subjects of/for surveillance, control and regulation. We highlight how in both cases it is through contemporary resonances of a persistent (post)colonial echo—which enmeshes the normative female body with the idea of the nation—that sexual abuse becomes an issue of national security and the politics of sexual violence becomes tethered to exclusionary nationalisms. Revealing the more general, shared, rationalities that bind the nation to the normative female body while attending to the located political reverberations that make this entanglement so affectively potent in the distinct contexts of India and Germany helps distinguish and amplify transnational and intersectional feminist approaches to sexual violence that do not so readily accommodate nationalist ambitions.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Intersectionality, Nationalism, Security, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, SV against Women Regions: Asia, South Asia, Europe, Central Europe Countries: Germany, India

Year: 2020

Queering Explanatory Frameworks for Wartime Sexual Violence against Men

Citation:

Schulz, Philipp, and Heleen Touquet. 2020. “Queering Explanatory Frameworks for Wartime Sexual Violence against Men.” International Affairs 96 (5): 1169–87.

Authors: Philipp Schulz, Heleen Touquet

Abstract:

In this article we argue that prevalent explanatory frameworks of sexual violence against men primarily pursue one line of inquiry, explaining its occurrence as exclusively strategic and systematic, based on heteronormative and homophobic assumptions about violence, gender and sexualities. Feminist IR scholarship has significantly complexified our understanding of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV), documenting its multiple forms and causes across time and space—thereby moving beyond the persistent opportunism-strategy dichotomy and critically engaging with the dominant ‘rape as a weapon of war’ narrative. Drawing on empirical material from Sri Lanka and northern Uganda we queer the current explanatory frameworks, analyzing multiple instances of CRSV against men that both simultaneously seem to confirm and defy categorizations as opportunistic or strategic, while being situated in broader and systematic warfare dynamics and unequal power-relationships. Our empirical material shows that relying on crude categorizations such as the opportunism–strategy binary is unproductive and essentialist, as it tends to mask over the complexities and messiness of deeply gendered power relationships during times of war. Binary strategy/opportunism categorizations also imply broader unintended political consequences, including the further marginalization of sexual violence acts that fall outside the dominant scripts or binary frameworks—such as sexual violence against men with opportunistic underpinnings.

Topics: Conflict, Gender, Men, Gendered Power Relations, Male Victims, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Men, Sexuality Regions: Africa, East Africa, Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka, Uganda

Year: 2020

Human Security, Gender-Based Violence and the Spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa: A Feminist Analysis

Citation:

Thomas, Lahoma, and Rebecca Tiessen. 2010. "Human Security, Gender-Based Violence and the Spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa: A Feminist Analysis." Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne Des Études Africaines 44 (3): 479-502.

Authors: Lahoma Thomas , Rebecca Tiessen

Abstract:

FRENCH ABSTRACT:
La santé et la sécurité des femmes de tous âges sont menacées en situations de conflit et d'après-conflit partout en Afrique. La violence sexuelle et sexiste et la propagation du virus de l'immunodéficience humaine/syndrome d'immunodéficience acquise (VIH/sida) sont autant d'armes utilisées en périodes de conflit, mais elles ont aussi des effets à long terme sur la santé et la sécurité postconflictuelles des femmes et des jeunes filles. Cet article s'appuie sur des recherches empiriques et pratiques menées en Ouganda entre 2007 et 2008 auprès de membres de collectivités du nord de l'Ouganda victimes de la violence sexuelle et sexiste et des intervenants auprès des victimes du viol et des personnes séropositives. Les résultats de ces recherches empiriques soulignent la persistance de la violence faite aux femmes en situation d'après-conflit et pourquoi l'expression de cette violence doit être placée dans le contexte de la sexospécificité et des masculinités. Nos résultats mettent en évidence la façon dont la violence faite aux femmes en situation d'après-conflit (en particulier, la violence domestique envers les femmes, l'inceste et la maltraitance sexuelle des enfants) sert à réaffirmer la masculinité et à récupérer le sens de la virilité mis en cause lors de conflits quand les membres masculins de la communauté ont été incapables de protéger leurs familles.
 
ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
Women and girls face specific health and human security threats in conflict and post-conflict situations throughout Africa. Gender and sexual-based violence (GSBV) and the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) are weapons used in conflict, but they also have long term effects on the human security and well-being of women and girls post-conflict. This article draws on empirical and field research carried out in Uganda between 2007 and 2008 with community members in northern Uganda who have experienced GSBV and those who are working to help survivors of rape and HIV infection. The findings from empirical research carried out in northern Uganda underscores the ongoing violence women face in a post-conflict environment and why the expression of violence against women must be understood in the context of gender relations and masculinities. Our findings highlight the ways in which violence against women in post-conflict situations (particularly domestic abuse against women, incest and child sexual assaults) is used to re-assert masculinities and to reclaim a sense of manhood that was challenged during the conflict when male community members were unable to protect their families.

Topics: Domestic Violence, Gender, Women, Girls, Masculinity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Health, HIV/AIDS, Post-Conflict, Security, Human Security, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Women Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2010

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

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