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Sexual Torture

Rape as a Weapon of War

Citation:

Card, Claudia. 1996. "Rape as a Weapon of War." Hypatia 11 (4): 5-18.

Author: Claudia Card

Abstract:

This essay examines how rape of women and girls by male soldiers works as a martial weapon. Continuities with other torture and terrorism and with civilian rape are suggested. The inadequacy of past philosophical treatments of the enslavement of war captives is briefly discussed. Social strategies are suggested for responding and a concluding fantasy offered, not entirely social, of a strategy to change the meanings of rape to undermine its use as a martial weapon.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, Rape, Sexual Slavery, SV against women, Terrorism, Torture, Sexual Torture

Year: 1996

Rape as Torture in the DRC: Sexual Violence Beyond the Conflict Zone

Citation:

Pettitt, Jo. 2014. Rape as Torture in the DRC: Sexual Violence Beyond the Conflict Zone. London: Freedom from Torture.

Author: Jo Pettitt

Topics: Armed Conflict, Sexual Violence, Rape, Torture, Sexual Torture Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2014

Sexual Violence against Men and Boys

Citation:

Russell, Wynne. 2007. “Sexual Violence against Men and Boys.” Forced Migration Review 27: 22–23.

Author: Wynne Russell

Annotation:

Russell stresses that male-directed sexual violence—including rape, sexual torture, mutilation of the genitals, sexual humiliation, sexual enslavement, forced incest, and forced rape—has been reported in 25 armed conflicts across the world in the last decade. However, such violence remains largely undocumented. The author notes that until we better understand the scope and consequences of such violence, male survivors will continue to be deprived of care or justice.  Russell also states that systematic collection of data is vital. Organizations operating in the field should strengthen efforts to identify male victims of sexual assault and create reporting categories for violence that affects male sexuality and reproductive capacity, such as the mutilation of the genitals. Mechanisms are needed for expert discussion within and across cultural contexts on how to provide assistance for men and boy survivors. Male victims need to be fully represented in international justice initiatives and included in national laws on sexual violence. 

Quotes:

"Even though male violence is included in international tribunals’ definitions of sexual violence, the domestic laws of many countries do not include male victims in their definitions of sexual violence.” (22)

"Little is known about the psychological consequences of male victims." (22)

"We need to understand the impact of sexual violence against men on post-conflict reintegration of adult or child combatants, or of civilian men forced to rape family or community members.” (22)

“Both adult men and boys are most vulnerable to sexual violence in detention. In some places over 50% of detainees reportedly experience sexualized torture.” (22)

“The main overt purposes of sexualized violence against men and boys appear to be torture, initiation and integration into military/paramilitary forces, punishment of individuals and a strategy of war designed to terrify, demoralize and destroy family and community cohesion.” (22)

“Sexual violence is used as a mechanism by which men are placed or kept in a position subordinate to other men.” (22)

“Organizations in conflict zones need to collect data and create categories for violence that affect male sexuality and reproductive capacity.” (23)

“Mechanisms for assisting men and boy survivors need to be developed.” (23)

“The prosecution by the international Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia of perpetrators of sexual violence against male victims and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s recent extension of the crime of rape to include male victims are positive examples.” (23)

Topics: Gender, Men, Boys, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, SV against men, Torture, Sexual Torture

Year: 2007

Men as Perpetrators and Victims

Citation:

Peel, Michael, ed. 2004. “Men as Perpetrators and Victims.” In Rape as a Method of Torture, 61–69. London: Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture.

Author: Michael Peel

Annotation:

Quotes:

“No society wants to admit to being party to male rape, but this quiescence leaves victims isolated and rape seen as a sexual act rather than one of the exercise of power and the infliction of humiliation.” (61)

“Female soldiers or police officers are very occasionally described as having been present when male detainees were being sexually assaulted, although the extent to which the women were victims or perpetrators is debatable.” (61)

“Sociological studies demonstrate an increase in the incidence of rape in societies where there is social disorganisation, urbanisation, economic inequality, and a sizeable number of men without a regular sexual relationship.” (62)

“Whereas for many women rape is the principal form of torture, for men the rape is generally part of a series of assaults that can leave significant physical signs, so that they might not need to disclose the rape when being interviewed by a doctor in order for a medical report to be produced that will confirm other significant signs of torture.” (65)

“Often the [male] victim appears to be concerned about the gender of the interpreter, but not that of the clinician or therapist, perhaps because their conversation is more directly with the interpreter.”(65)

“Anal penetration by a penis rarely leaves any identifiable physical signs after only a few days.15 In the Medical Foundation study, only one of the 32 men who had been raped had any specific physical signs, and he had been raped many times over several years. When objects are pushed through the anus there is much more likelihood of damage and therefore scarring (although such acts are not, strictly, rape). Of the 25 men who had suffered objects being pushed through their anus, 5 (20%) had significant physical signs.” (66)

“A study done by the Medical Foundation, found that over 70% of men who had been sexually assaulted experienced PTSD symptoms.” (66)

Topics: Gender, Men, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, Rape, SV against men, Torture, Sexual Torture

Year: 2004

Mental Health Consequences in Men Exposed to Sexual Abuse During the War in Croatia and Bosnia

Citation:

Loncar, Mladen, Neven Henigsberg, and Pero Hrabac. 2010. “Mental Health Consequences in Men Exposed to Sexual Abuse During the War in Croatia and Bosnia.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 25 (2): 191–203.

Authors: Mladen Loncar, Neven Henigsberg, Pero Hrabac

Abstract:

In the research project on sexual abuse of men during the war in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, detailed information from 60 victims of such crimes was gathered. The aim of the research was to define key attributes of sexual abuse of men in war as well as consequences it had on the victims. A method of structured interview was used. Also, the statement of each victim was recorded. Victims were exposed to physical torture of their genitals, psycho-sexual torture and physical abuse. The most common symptoms of traumatic reactions were sleep disturbances, concentration difficulties, nightmares and flashbacks, feelings of hopelessness, and different physical stress symptoms such as constant headaches, profuse sweating, and tachycardia. In addition to rape and different methods of sexual abuse, most of the victims were heavily beaten. The conclusion is made that the number of sexually abused men during the war must have been much higher than reported.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Men, Health, Mental Health, PTSD, Trauma, Sexual Violence, SV against men, Torture, Sexual Torture Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia

Year: 2010

Sexual Torture of Political Prisoners: An Overview

Citation:

Agger, Inger. 1989. “Sexual Torture of Political Prisoners: An Overview.” Journal of Traumatic Stress 2 (3): 305-318.

Author: Inger Agger

Abstract:

Not much is known about the repressive use of sexuality against political prisoners. It is important to gain a better understanding of the trauma involved in sexual torture for treatment purposes. On the basis of clinical experience with refugees from the Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America, and the collection of mainly unpublished material on the subject, a theory of the psychodynamics of sexual torture is proposed. It is claimed that this method of torture is especially traumatic, as it is characterized by a confusing and complex ambiguity containing both libidinal and aggressive components, against which the victim has difficulty maintaining a psychological defense. Hence, his or her core identity processes are threatened. Aspects of transcultural treatment are discussed, and it is stressed that there must be a reframing of the trauma story so as not to repeat the psychological pain of the torture and aggravate symptoms. The Testimony-Method is introduced as an important tool for reframing. If the refugee presents sexual symptoms, sexological treatment interventions are recommended.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Health, Trauma, Sexuality, Torture, Sexual Torture

Year: 1989

The Sexual Abuse of Men in Detention in Sri Lanka

Citation:

Peel, M, A. Mahtani, G. Hinshelwood, and D. Forrest. 2000. "The Sexual Abuse of Men in Detention in Sri Lanka." The Lancet 355 (9220): 2069-2070.

Authors: M. Peel, A. Mahtani, G. Hinshelwood, D. Forrest

Annotation:

To estimate the frequency and consequences of the sexual abuse of men in detention in Sri Lanka, we reviewed records of all Sri-Lankan men who had been referred to the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture between January, 1997, and December, 1998. Those on whom medicolegal reports had been written were identified and the necessary information extracted. For the purposes of this paper, sexual abuse comprises assaults to the genitals, non-consensual sexual acts, and objects pushed through the anus.

Topics: Gender, Men, Justice, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Torture, Sexual Torture Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2000

Impunity or Immunity: Wartime Male Rape and Sexual Torture as a Crime against Humanity

Citation:

Zawati, Hilmi M. 2007. “Impunity or Immunity: Wartime Male Rape and Sexual Torture as a Crime against Humanity.” Torture: Quarterly Journal on Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Prevention of Torture 17 (1): 27–47.

Author: Hilmi M. Zawati

Abstract:

This paper seeks to analyze the phenomenon of wartime rape and sexual torture of Croatian and Iraqi men and to explore the avenues for its prosecution under international humanitarian and human rights law. Male rape, in time of war, is predominantly an assertion of power and aggression rather than an attempt on the part of the perpetrator to satisfy sexual desire. The effect of such a horrible attack is to damage the victim's psyche, rob him of his pride, and intimidate him. In Bosnia- Herzegovina, Croatia, and Iraq, therefore, male rape and sexual torture has been used as a weapon of war with dire consequences for the victim's mental, physical, and sexual health. Testimonies collected at the Medical Centre for Human Rights in Zagreb and reports received from Iraq make it clear that prisoners in these conflicts have been exposed to sexual humiliation, as well as to systematic and systemic sexual torture. This paper calls upon the international community to combat the culture of impunity in both dictator-ruled and democratic countries by bringing the crime of wartime rape into the international arena, and by removing all barriers to justice facing the victims. Moreover, it emphasizes the fact that wartime rape is the ultimate humiliation that can be inflicted on a human being, and it must be regarded as one of the most grievous crimes against humanity. The international community has to consider wartime rape a crime of war and a threat to peace and security. It is in this respect that civilian community associations can fulfill their duties by encouraging victims of male rape to break their silence and address their socio-medical needs, including reparations and rehabilitation.

Keywords: sexual torture, male rape, wartime rape, gender crimes, Croatia, Iraq

Annotation:

Quotes:

"Male rape in times of war is predominantly an assertion of power and aggression rather than an expression of satisfying the perpetrator’s sexual desire." (33)

"When war finally came to an end in the former Yugoslavia, the medical records of health care centres provided evidence of male rape and sexual torture of Croatian and Bosnian Muslim men including castration, genital beatings, and electroshock." (34)

"This paper provides three kinds of potential remedies available for addressing the needs of Croatian and Iraqi wartime male rape victims: legal remedies, remedies within the United Nations system, and psycho-social remedies within civil community associations." (34)

"We should combat the culture of impunity in both dictator-ruled and democratic countries by bringing the crime of wartime rape into the international arena, and by removing all barriers to justice facing the victims. Moreover, we should emphasize the fact that wartime rape is the ultimate humiliation that can be inflicted on a human being, and it must be regarded as one of the most grievous crimes against humanity. The international community has to consider wartime rape a crime of war and a threat to peace and security. It is in this respect that civilian community associations can fulfill their duties by encouraging victims of male rape to break their silence and address their socio-medical needs, including reparations and rehabilitation." (40)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Men, Gendered Power Relations, Health, Mental Health, Trauma, International Law, International Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law IHL, Justice, Crimes against Humanity, War Crimes, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Security, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against men, Sexuality, Sexual Torture Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Iraq

Year: 2007

Rape as an Act of Genocide

Citation:

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

Author: Sherrie Russel-Brown

Abstract:

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

The Body of the Other Man: Sexual Violence and the Construction of Masculinity, Sexuality and Ethnicity in Croatian Media

Citation:

Zarkov, Dubravka. 2001. “The Body of the Other Man: Sexual Violence and the Construction of Masculinity, Sexuality and Ethnicity in Croatian Media.” In Victims, Perpetrators or Actors? Gender, Armed  Conflict, and Political Violence, edited by Caroline Moser and Fiona Clark, 69–82. London: Zed Books.

Author: Dubravka Zarkov

Abstract:

In this chapter, I examine newspaper articles covering the wars through which former Yugoslavia disintegrated, with the intention of showing how gender, sexuality and ethnicity constitute each other in the media respresentations of sexual violence. I begin from a somewhat unusual point: men as victims of sexual violence, not as perpetrators.

It may be a surprise to many readers that men were victims of sexual violence during the wars in former Yugoslavia, which became notorious for making the rape of women one if its most effective weapons. In the gruesome reality of war, men are usually seen as rapists and not as raped. Of course, this is not only a perception. In most wars and conflicts, as well as in times of peace, the reality is that men are rapists of women. I do not wish to deny that fact. However, I do wish to show that perceiving men only and always as offenders and never as victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence is a very specific, gendered narrative of war. In that narrative, dominant notions of masculinity merge with norms of heterosexuality and definitions of ethnicity and ultimately designate who can or cannot be named a victim of sexual violence in the press.

Annotation:

The author examines male sexual victimization in the Balkans War. She argues that “perceiving men only and always as offenders and never as victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence is a very specific, gendered narrative of war.” In that narrative, dominant notions of masculinity merge with norms of heterosexuality and definitions of ethnicity and ultimately designate who can or cannot be named a victim of sexual violence in the national press. Zarkov examines how male sexual victimization was presented in Croatian and Serbian mass media, after first passing through the filter of nationalism. In the press the author examined, sexually assaulted men were all but visible. An investigation of the Croatian and Serbian Press from November 1991 to December 1993 found only six articles in the Croatian press, compared to over 100 about other forms of torture experienced by Croat men and over 60 about the rape of women. The Serbian press did not publish a single text about sexual torture of men. In the Croatian press the only visible male victim of rape and castration was a Muslim man, while the Croatian man was never mentioned as either being raped/castrated or raping other men. Serbian men, on the other hand, were mentioned as sodomists who rape (Muslim) men. The author argues that, the need of the newly emerging Croatian state to have its symbolic virility preserved through the preserved virility, power, and heterosexuality of Croatian men was crucial for the representation of the sexual violence against men.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnicity, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against men, Sexuality, Torture, Sexual Torture Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Croatia, Serbia

Year: 2001

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