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Rape as a weapon of war

(7 Posts)
ForkInTheForeheid Sun 17-Jul-11 11:22:28

www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jul/17/the-rape-of-men

Read this article in the Observer magazine this morning. It's pretty horrifying, describing the abuse and rape of male prisoners of war in African conflicts and the stigma attached which make it difficult for them to come forward (in spite of continuing injury/health problems which have resulted).

I think it's interesting to get a different perspective because I feel that large scale rape of women in conflict situations isn't about subjugation of women per se so much as the attempt to de-construct and demoralise the whole of that particular culture/society. It is about power over women but even more so seem to be about power over the men of the society, "look what we can do to your women, you can't protect them" (this of course relies on both cultures holding a patriarchal view in the first place).

Just wondered what others thought of this article and whether there is a point there as regards the funding of support for rape victims (according to article almost exclusively set aside for female victims).

organicgardener Sun 17-Jul-11 16:24:01

Rape is disgusting.

War is disgusting.

Rape in the arena of war isn't a new concept it's been a tool of conquest for millenia.

How do we change it?

Funding the victims after the fact isn't solving the problem, although it might ease their plight short term.

PiousPrat Sun 17-Jul-11 17:01:37

I don't think that using rape of women as a means of showing power over the group necessarily relies on both societies being patriarchal. I'm thinking of the example of Boudica and her daughters being raped by Roman soldiers when the Iceni tribe that she ruled defied them. In that instance, I think it was more about displaying the power they could wield over the head of the tribe and rape was another method at their disposal.

Of course it is abhorrent that anyone could deem rape as an acceptable tool of fear and intimidation but I don't think it automatically implies that it is only used because of a patriarchy. If anything, it would make logical sense that it would be a more effective tool when used against a group that values women equally as the more importance is placed on a person, the more damage is done when that person is shown to have been broken by the enemy.

ForkInTheForeheid Sun 17-Jul-11 18:04:20

That makes sense PP - I guess I meant that the implication and understanding that raping the women was raping the men's women relied on patriarchal society. But I guess in other instances it would just be done with different motivations. Always about power and destruction of the other side though. I guess one big difference between male and female rape in these circumstances is that female rape often results in pregnancy and children (which in conflicts between ethnic groups is kind of a form of ethnic cleansing).

CrapolaDeVille Sun 17-Jul-11 18:06:35

I'm sure it's a weapon, I think it's a way to dehumanise the enemy....an addition way to overpower. It's disgusting.

BornSicky Sun 17-Jul-11 22:04:27

In Rwanda where there are hundreds of thousands of women who are now HIV positive as a result of rape being used as a weapon of war (coupled with the deliberate transference of HIV), the perpetrators are in prison receiving free drug care for their HIV. the women are raising their own children and the children of family members who died during the genocide. They don't get free medical care and many of them don't even get tested because they a) can't afford the test and b) don't want the stigma of being outed as HIV positive.

There are also thousands of men who suffered the loss of limbs and were raped and mutilated. They also receive very little care or support. With the men, it's also about dehumanising them and making them feel helpless.

What needs to change is that those that perpetrate crime like this need to be effectively brought to account and that the resources spent on supporting them are re-directed to the victims.

Religion and religious abstention from using contraceptives also has a huge part in this debate, and both the drug companies that stop the dissemination of contraceptives and medical aid, and the religious organisations who refuse to deliver it and support the boycott of contraception and promote it need to be dealt with as well.

fluffles Mon 18-Jul-11 12:01:55

i read this and i thought about the discussions that are sometimes on here about how people talk about male rape as if it is 'worse' than female rape and that belittles female rape. the article alludes to the fact that some organisations are for women only and men cannot access that help. i am torn about the rights and wrongs of this.

the one thing i do believe though is that more publicity like this will help to show rape in war for what it is - a form of torture - and that it has nothing to do with sexual arousal.

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