Rape as a Weapon of War

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As Amnesty International reminds us, rape is a weapon of war, used to “intimidate, conquer and control women and their communities…[and] as a form of torture to extract information, punish and terrorize.”

As long as rape and murder allegations against U.S. soldiers receive press attention, and the victimization of female soldiers remains in the news, there is at least some reason to hope that the military will more effectively attempt to address sexual assault issues. But what happens when media attention turns elsewhere?

Jessica at Feministing recommends reading Cynthia Enloe’s work as a source of information on women, war, and militarization. I would second that, and add that people who want to take positive action on behalf of victims of war-related rape should also familarize themselves with the work of Catharine MacKinnon in this area. Study particularly Kadic v. Karadzic, in which MacKinnon helped pave the way for rape to be treated as a compensable war crime and act of genocide in the U.S. court system. Many of the documents related to this litigation are available here (scroll down to Doe v. Karadzic).

–Ann Bartow

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0 Responses to Rape as a Weapon of War

  1. abrophy says:

    Along these lines, I’d also recommend Lisa Cardyn’s brilliant book-length article, Sexualized Racism/Gendered Violence: Outraging the Body Politic in the Reconstruction South, in volume 100 of the Michigan Law Review (2002). It links research on sexual violence during war with violence by the first Klan during Reconstruction. One of the many virtues of the article is its mining of Congressional testimony on the methods of the Klan’s violence.

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