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Trauma

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

Does War Beget Child Aggression? Military Violence, Gender, Age and Aggressive Behavior in Two Palestinian Samples

Citation:

Qouta, Samir, Raija-Leena Punamäki, Thomas Miller, and Eyad El-Sarraj. 2008. “Does War Beget Child Aggression? Military Violence, Gender, Age and Aggressive Behavior in Two Palestinian Samples.” Aggressive Behavior 34 (3): 231–44.

Authors: Samir Qouta, Raija-Leena Punamäki, Thomas Miller, Eyad El-Sarraj

Abstract:

[Qouta et al] examined, first, the relations between children's exposure to military violence and their aggressive behavior and the role of age and gender in that relation in two Palestinian samples. Second, [Qouta et al] tested parenting practices as a moderator of the relation between exposure to military violence and aggressive behavior, and third, whether exposure to military violence of different nature (direct victimization versus witnessing) has specific associations with different forms of aggression (reactive, proactive and aggression-enjoyment). Study I was conducted in a relatively calm military-political atmosphere in Palestine-Gaza, and included 640 children, aged 6–16 years whose parents (N=622) and teachers (N=457) provided reports. Older children (≥12 years) provided self-reports (N=211). Study II included 225 Palestinian children aged 10–14-year, who participated during a high-violence period of the Al Aqsa Intifada characterized by air raids, killing and destruction. Results showed that witnessing severe military violence was associated with children's aggressive and antisocial behavior (parent-reported) in study I, and with proactive, reactive and aggression-enjoyment (child-reported) in the study II. As hypothesized, good and supporting parenting practices could moderate the link between exposure to military violence and aggressive behavior.

Keywords: trauma, military violence, aggression, Palestinians, children

Topics: Age, Youth, Armed Conflict, Gender, Girls, Boys, Health, Mental Health, Trauma Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 2008

Sexual Violence in the Protracted Conflict of DRC Programming for Rape Survivors in South Kivu

Citation:

Steiner, Birthe, Marie T. Benner, Egbert Sondorp, K. Peter Schmitz, Ursula Mesmer, and Sandrine Rosenberger. 2009. “Sexual Violence in the Protracted Conflict of DRC Programming for Rape Survivors in South Kivu.” Conflict and Health 3 (3): 1-9. doi:10.1186/1752-1505-3-3.

Authors: Birthe Steiner, Marie T. Benner, Egbert Sondorp, K. Peter Schmitz, Ursula Mesmer, Sandrine Rosenberger

Abstract:

Background: Despite international acknowledgement of the linkages between sexual violence and conflict, reliable data on its prevalence, the circumstances, characteristics of perpetrators, and physical or mental health impacts is rare. Among the conflicts that have been associated with widespread sexual violence has been the one in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

 

Methods: From 2003 till to date Malteser International has run a medico-social support programme for rape survivors in South Kivu province, DRC. In the context of this programme, a host of data was collected. We present these data and discuss the findings within the frame of available literature.

Results: Malteser International registered 20,517 female rape survivors in the three year period 2005–2007. Women of all ages have been targeted by sexual violence and only few of those – and many of them only after several years – sought medical care and psychological help. Sexual violence in the DRC frequently led to social, especially familial, exclusion. Members of military and paramilitary groups were identified as the main perpetrators of sexual violence.

Conclusion: We have documented that in the DRC conflict sexual violence has been – and continues to be – highly prevalent in a wide area in the East of the country. Humanitarian programming in this field is challenging due to the multiple needs of rape survivors. The easily accessible, integrated medical and psycho-social care that the programme offered apparently responded to the needs of many rape survivors in this area.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, Trauma, Humanitarian Assistance, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Paramilitaries, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2009

Living With the Sins of Their Fathers: An Analysis of Self-Representation of Adolescents Born of War Rape

Citation:

Erjavec, Karmen, and Zala Volcic. 2010. “Living With the Sins of Their Fathers: An Analysis of Self-Representation of Adolescents Born of War Rape.” Journal of Adolescent Research 25 (3): 359–86. doi:10.1177/0743558410361373.

Authors: Karmen Erjavec, Zala Volcic

Abstract:

Children born of war rape continue to be a taboo theme in many post-war societies, also in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH). This study is based on in- depth interviews with eleven adolescents born of war rape in BH.The main goal is to present how these adolescents represent themselves and their life- situations. On the basis of the research we identify four key themes: 1) their continued sense of hostility even after the end of the war; 2) the internalized guilt; 3) the role reversal; and 4) the role of reconciling the war enemies. The analysis of life-stories shows new identifications of traumatic events and trauma. More than half of the interviewed girls suffer severe psychological and physical abuses.The research argues that there are three crucial factors influencing girls' self-perception: the role of the mothers, mothers' economic situation and general social exclusion.

Keywords: ethnic issues, identity issues, self-image, violence

Topics: Gender, Girls, Boys, Health, Trauma, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Rape, Violence Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2010

Association of Combatant Status and Sexual Violence with Health and Mental Health Outcomes in Postconflict Liberia

Citation:

Johnson, Kirsten, Jana Asher, Stephanie Rosborough, Amisha Raja, Rajesh Panjabi, Charles Beadling, and Lynn Lawry. 2008. “Association of Combatant Status and Sexual Violence with Health and Mental Health Outcomes in Postconflict Liberia.” JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association 300 (6): 676–90.

Authors: Kirsten Johnson, Jana Asher, Stephanie Rosborough, Amisha Raja, Rajesh Panjabi, Charles Beadling, Lynn Lawry

Abstract:

The article reports on the results of research which was conducted in an effort to assess the prevalence and impact of war related psychosocial trauma, including information on participation in the Liberian civil wars, exposure to sexual violence, social functioning and mental health. Researchers surveyed 1,666 adults over a three week period. They found that both female and male former combatants who experienced sexual violence had worse mental health outcomes than noncombatants and other former combatants who did not experience exposure to sexual violence.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, Trauma, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2008

The Plural ‘Self’: Group Therapy with Bosnian Women Survivors of War

Citation:

Bolibok, Barbara. 2001. “The Plural ‘Self’: Group Therapy with Bosnian Women Survivors of War.” Smith College Studies in Social Work 71 (3): 459–72. doi:10.1080/00377310109517640.

Author: Barbara Bolibok

Abstract:

This theoretical exploration of forms of female self‐representation is based on a qualitative study of group therapy with Bosnian women survivors of war. It critiques the “self‐in‐relation” theories of female development for their reliance on a Western conception of selfhood. Borrowing the notion of the plural female subject from women's theory of autobiography, it provides an account of the Bosnian women survivors' efforts to heal from trauma that preserves their cultural integrity ("otherness"). The empirical part of the article analyzes group process in light of forms of female self‐representation. I argue that the Bosnian women's experience of healing can only be understood from the perspective of a collective experience that incorporates the representations of both “self" and "other." Although early in the stages of recover, the Bosnian women function at the level of an integrated and developed “communal (group) self.” Such a plural conception of self requires appropriate forms of treatment that question some underlying assumptions of Western forms of clinical intervention.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Health, Trauma, Post-Conflict Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2001

The Trauma of Justice: Sexual Violence, Crimes Against Humanity and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Citation:

Campbell, Kirsten. 2004. “The Trauma of Justice: Sexual Violence, Crimes Against Humanity and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.” Social & Legal Studies 13 (3): 329–50.

Author: Kirsten Campbell

Abstract:

This article explores the relationship between the concepts of trauma and justice in the jurisprudence of crimes against humanity of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, focusing upon cases of sexual violence. It argues that the Tribunal’s jurisprudence conceives this crime as a traumatic violation of both the subject of rights and of universal humanity. The Tribunal’s models of international justice as procedure, punishment, recognition and therapy understand justice as the legal suturing of this trauma. In these models, the notion of ‘justice’ functions as phantasy in the psychoanalytic sense of an imaginary scene that veils its impossibility. However, figuring international justice as the resolution of the trauma of crimes against humanity reiterates the traumatic wrong in humanitarian law. Humanitarian law therefore requires a new model of international justice - a model that does not reiterate the past but which can institute the future.

Topics: Health, Trauma, International Law, International Humanitarian Law IHL, Justice, Crimes against Humanity, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Sexual Violence Regions: Europe, Balkans Countries: Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2004

Adolescent Girls in Colombia’s Guerrilla: An Exploration into Gender and Trauma Dynamics

Citation:

Hernández, Pilar, and Amanda Romero. 2003. “Adolescent Girls in Colombia’s Guerrilla: An Exploration into Gender and Trauma Dynamics.” Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community 26 (1): 21–38. 

Authors: Pilar Hernández, Amanda Romero

Abstract:

Armed combat in childhood and adolescence is a form of child abuse and a violation of International Humanitarian Law. This study explores the impact of guerrilla life in adolescent peasant girls coerced to join the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC). It analyzes their stories within the social context of the ongoing conflict in the country. Seven adolescent peasant girls were interviewed with a semi-structured format and the descriptive data were analyzed using the constant comparison method. Results reflect the ways in which they joined the guerrilla, and the traumatic aspects of gendered-based violence and combat exposure. An understanding of these traumatic experiences is discussed highlighting the continuum of patriarchal practices that make girls specific targets of sexual exploitation. Implications for rehabilitation programs are discussed.

Keywords: trauma, war, gender

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Girls, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Health, Trauma, International Law, International Humanitarian Law IHL, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state Armed Groups, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2003

Healing in the Midst of Chaos: Nah We Yone’s African Women’s Wellness Group

Citation:

Akinsulure-Smith, Adeyinka M., Jessica B. Ghiglione, and Carrie Wollmershauser. 2008. “Healing in the Midst of Chaos: Nah We Yone’s African Women’s Wellness Group.” Women & Therapy 32 (1): 105-20. doi:10.1080/02703140802384602.

Authors: Adeyinka M. Akinsulure-Smith, Jessica B. Ghiglione, Carrie Wollmershauser

Abstract:

This article discusses the creative use of the group treatment modality to provide psychosocial support to African women refugees and asylum seekers with a history of refugee trauma, war, and human rights abuses who have fled to the United States. In particular, this article describes the African Women’s Wellness Group developed by Nah We Yone, Inc., a small grassroots organization in the New York City area. This women’s group draws on the tenets of traditional Western group psychotherapy while using African cultural awareness to provide healing. The rationale for this type of treatment, group design, specific techniques used to provide healing, along with various group-related themes and challenges are described. This type of treatment provides an example of the usefulness of group therapy technique with traumatized displaced women struggling to survive in a new cultural setting.

Keywords: African women, asylum seekers, refugees, trauma, war

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women, Health, Trauma, Rights, Human Rights Regions: Africa, Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2008

Gender Differences in Veterans Health Administration Mental Health Service Use: Effects of Age and Psychiatric Diagnosis

Citation:

Chatterjee, Sharmila, Maria E. Rath, Avron Spiro, Susan Eisen, Kevin L. Sloan, and Amy K. Rosen. 2009. “Gender Differences in Veterans Health Administration Mental Health Service Use: Effects of Age and Psychiatric Diagnosis.” Women’s Health Issues 19 (3): 176–84.

Authors: Sharmila Chatterjee, Maria E. Rath, Avron Spiro, Susan Eisen, Kevin L. Sloan, Amy K. Rosen

Abstract:

PURPOSE: The objective of this study was to compare gender differences in mental health disease burden and outpatient mental health utilization among veterans utilizing Veterans Health Administration (VHA) mental health services in fiscal year 1999 (FY99), after the first Gulf War and significant restructuring of VHA services.

METHODS: We used logistic regression to examine the relationships among gender, age, diagnostic groups, and utilization of mental health and specialty mental health services in a national sample of veterans. The sample included 782,789 veterans with at least 1 outpatient visit in the VHA in FY99 associated with a mental health or substance abuse (SA) diagnosis. Subgroup analyses were performed for 4 diagnostic categories: 1) posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 2) SA disorders, 3) bipolar and psychotic disorders, and 4) mood and anxiety disorders.

MAIN FINDINGS: Younger women veterans (<35 years old) were significantly less likely and older women (> or =35) more likely to use any mental health services in comparison with their male counterparts. Similar findings were observed for younger women diagnosed with SA or mood and anxiety disorders, but not among veterans with PTSD or bipolar and psychotic disorders, among whom no there were no gender or age differences. In the case of specialized services for SA or PTSD, women younger than 55 with SA or PTSD were significantly less likely to use services than men.

CONCLUSION: Women veterans underutilized specialty mental health services in relation to men but receipt of mental health care overall in FY99 varied by age and diagnosis. Examining gender differences alone, without taking other factors into account, may not provide an adequate picture of women veterans' current mental health service needs.

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Health, Mental Health, Trauma

Year: 2009

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