Chapter Three: Sexual Violence Literature Review
War is often characterised by extreme aggression and violence; in essence violence is the symbol of warfare. Nations engage in warfare and armed conflict to cause mass violence including an accumulation of killings, torture and sexual violence. Historically, research on violence during conflict, particularly sexual violence, was largely gender-blind, with even the experiences of women ignored altogether (Moser and Clark 2001: 3). Currently it appears to be gender-specific, with the focus largely on women as victims of wartime sexual violence and as peacekeepers; consequently ignoring the experiences of men, except as protectors or perpetrators (Moser and Clark 2001: 3). The poststructuralist feminist theoretical approach is sceptical of the male-female binary, however, it also demonstrates how the current conceptualisation of ‘gender’ and human security essentially reproduces sexual violence against certain bodies (female) and marginalises others (male). This section will provide an overview of the academic literature on sexual violence in conflict, drawing attention to the various competing explanations as to why it occurs. The focus of critical engagement will be on the feminist treatment of wartime sexual violence; in other words, how the existing feminist academic scholarship talks about sexual violence in conflict and the consequences of doing so. What is missing? To what extent is conflict-related sexual violence constructed as exclusively targeting women and girls? Could sexual violence during conflict also affect males as victims, not just as perpetrators?
Defining Sexual Violence in Conflict
Sexual violence during conflict is defined by the International Criminal Court as rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy and forced sterilisation (ICC 2000) and also sexual mutilation and sexual torture (Wood 2009; also Wood 2015). For the purpose of this research project, sexual violence in conflict, wartime sexual violence, conflict-related sexual violence and rape, will all be used interchangeably.
Explanations for Sexual Violence in Conflict
Throughout history sexual violence in wartime was considered an inevitable by-product of war (Card 1996; Vikman 2005). This was linked to men’s need for sexual gratification to satisfy their biologically “natural’ sex drive and hence victorious soldiers were rewarded with the fallen enemy’s women as “war booty” (Baaz and Stern 2009: 498). Claudia Card (1996) viewed rape in wartime as serving a triple purpose in that it represents the “spoils” of war and serves as a symbolic message of domination as an assertion of masculinity not only to women but also to those men who have been conquered. However, due to a strong feminist movement and feminist theorists in the 1990s, following the mass rape of hundreds of thousands of civilians during conflicts in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, there was increased attention on the issue by the international community. Sexual violence in conflict was no longer considered an inevitable by-product of warfare but instead reconceptualised as a ‘weapon of war’ and pushed into the public sphere by feminist scholars (Card 1996; Kirby 2012; Skjelsbaek 2001; Enloe 1996; Bourke 2014; Franco 2007; Harrington 2010; Tickner 1992; 2001). In this way, wartime sexual violence became politicised and viewed as a serious threat to the maintenance of peace and security by the international community, particularly the United Nations. While wartime sexual violence as a ‘weapon of war’ is the most common explanation, it is not the only explanation. As such this discussion will focus on explanations of ‘weapon of war’; biological/sexual urges and the ‘craziness of war’ in an attempt to understand why sexual violence in conflict occurs. Weapon of War Sexual violence in conflict as a ‘weapon of war’ differs from other types of sexual assaults because rather than being driven to rape by ‘biological’ sexual urges, army forces are urged to commit systematic mass rape in order to achieve political or military objectives (UN 2015; also see Pankhurst, in Shepherd 2015). Rape as a weapon or tactic of war is used to intimidate, humiliate, oppress and displace specific group of people’s lives, families and communities (Alexander and Hawkesworth 2008; Kirby 2012; Skjelsbaek 2001; Enloe 1996; Harrington 2010; Branche and Virgili 2012). It is considered “as a particularly effective means to humiliate (feminise) enemy men by sullying “his” women/nation/homeland and proving him to be an inadequate protector” (Stern and Baaz 2009: 500; also Enloe 2000; Goldstein 2001; Stern and Nystrand 2006; Yuval-Davis 1997). Indeed, the empirical data in historical conflicts of Rwanda and Bosnia and modern day conflicts in places like DRC, Sri Lanka, Liberia and Central African Republic, support the claim of wartime sexual violence as a weapon of war. For example, during the Rwandan genocide in 1994 up to half a million mainly Tutsi women were targeted and raped, sexually mutilated, killed by Hutu soldiers, as instructed by their Hutu leaders with the intent to destroy the Tutsi ethnic group (Mukamana and Brysiewkz 2008; Nowrojee 1996). The Bosnian war in 1992 resulted in between 12,000 and 50,000 majority Bosnian Muslim women and girls repeatedly raped and sexually abused (Wood 2013). The Bosnian Serbs set up “rape camps” where the women and girls were forcibly impregnated as part of an “ethnic cleansing” campaign to change the ethnic make-up of the next generation (Wood 2013; Crowe 2013; Cockburn 2004). The systemic and extreme brutality of the sexual violence committed show that it is not due to ‘sexual urges’ but more so to humiliate the enemy. For example, during an interview with Stephanie Nolen in her 2005 article ‘Not Women Anymore…’ Dr Denis Mukwege, one of two doctors in the eastern Congo who performed reconstructive vaginal surgeries, highlighted the brutality surrounding the rapes many women endured: They rape a woman, five or six of them at a time — but that is not enough. Then they shoot a gun into her vagina, says Dr. Mukwege. In all my years here, I never saw anything like it. … [T]o see so many raped, that shocks me, but what shocks me more is the way they are raped (Emphasis added, Nolen 2005). Indeed it was not only women and girls that were targeted in such a way during conflict, with Sandesh Sivakumaran (2007) providing empirical evidence of brutal acts of sexual violence committed against male victims during conflicts in Sri Lanka. Sivakumaran (2007) details how male victims experienced “sticks pushed through the anus, usually with chillies rubbed on the stick first, also made to masturbate soldiers orally” (2007: 263). The male victims were also “forced with…friends to rape each other in front of soldiers for their ‘entertainment’ while others were themselves raped by soldiers” (2007: 264). Cynthia Enloe (2000) identifies “systematic mass rape” as one of the three main types of military rape, along with “recreational rape” and “national security rape” (2000: 111-132). Donna Pankhurst (cited in Shepherd 2015: 163-167) also outlines rape as a weapon of war as one of five possible explanations of sexual violence in warfare, in addition to sexual violence as a reward for troops; the result of a breakdown in social constraints; consequences of root cause frustration-aggression and male trauma. Feminists further argue that such acts of sexual violence during conflict are considered a ‘weapon of war’, due to their intention of terrorizing the population, breaking up families, and destroying communities and men’s pride in failing to protect “their women” or themselves (Pankhurst 2015; Card 1996; Enloe 2000; Tickner 1997). This portrayal of sexual violence as a ‘weapon of war’ precisely because it is used as a way to humiliate communities, families and men’s pride in failing to protect ‘their’ women is problematic. This is because it reproduces essentialist views of women as the inevitable victims in need of protection and as men’s property and cultural bearers of society. In this way, the rape of women is essentially the rape of the nation thus further victimizing women and neglecting male victims of wartime sexual violence. In some instances, wartime sexual violence is used to deliberately infect victims with HIV/AIDS or render women from the targeted community incapable of bearing children. The infection of victims with HIV/AIDS in times of conflict has become such a prevailing issue. This is echoed during a BBC interview with one doctor in Congo in which he states of all the women he treated “between May and October 2003, 24 per cent were HIV positive” (Martens 2004). Furthermore, the UN Security Council 1325 provides a specific clause concerning the increased risk of HIV/AIDS infection among women and girls in areas of military conflict: The Secretary-General to provide to Member States training guidelines and materials on the protection, rights and the particular needs of women, as well as on the importance of involving women in all peacekeeping and peace-building measures, invites Member States to incorporate these elements as well as HIV/AIDS awareness training into their national training programmes for military and civilian police personnel in preparation for deployment and further requests the Secretary-General to ensure that civilian personnel of peacekeeping operations receive similar training (2000: Article 6). Despite some feminist scholarship portraying the deliberate infection of victims with HIV/AIDS as something that happens to the female body, this is not the case as both female and male bodies are infected during armed conflict. For example, in Kosovo, in an interview with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), one interviewee reported that “he saw two male detainees being raped by two policemen who declared that they had AIDS” (Sivakumaran 2007: 264). Yet, national training programmes, protection, international policies and health services appear only to meet the needs of women and girls, while male victims remain a marginal concern. The most common form of sexual violence as a ‘weapon of war’ is the use of systematic mass rape. International human rights organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and various UN agencies, as well as, journalists, document numerous campaigns on the issue of systematic mass rape during armed conflict. The UN agencies estimate during conflicts in Rwanda between 100,000 and 250,000 women were systematically raped during three months genocide in 1994, more than 60,000 during the civil war in Sierra Leone, more than 60,000 in the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2002 and at least 200,000 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) conflict zones since 1998. Cynthia Enloe (2000) refers to the conclusions of Doctors without Frontiers in her discussion of occurrences of mass rape during the Rwandan conflict, maintaining that “every adult woman and every adolescent girl spared a massacre by militias was then raped” (2000: 132). Similarly, in her discussion on rape as a weapon of ethnic cleansing, Enloe (2000) refers to the approximately 20,000 Bosnian Muslim women and girls raped by Bosnian Serb as reported by the European Union. She discusses how women have been raped in the presence of others as a means to terrorise populations and force civilians from their villages. Rape is used as a weapon of war here as a violent tactic to not only cause significant harm onto the victims, but to instil fear into communities (Enloe 2000: 140). Michele Lent Hirsch (2012) and David M. Crowe (2013) discuss the creation of “rape camps” during the Bosnian conflict, where Bosnian Muslim women and girls who were not killed were kept there and subjected to torture, rape and forceful impregnation. Similarly, Sara Lulo notes that reports of mass rape during current and recent conflict – including in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda – “underscore the widespread and insidious nature of conflict-related crimes against women and girls around the world” (cited in Grey and Shepherd 2012: 119). This presents a gendered understanding of sexual violence in conflict as a women’s issue; the female body is constituted in and through this violence. As such women and girls are portrayed as the inevitable victims, while men and boys are the perpetrators, which is a common representation found in wartime sexual violence literature. Adam Jones (2001) criticises Enloe’s representation of the violence that occurred during the Rwandan and Bosnian conflicts. The criticism is due to Enloe’s analysis as exclusively one-sided, with no mention of the mass slaughter of men and boys in both conflicts. Jones also criticises Enloe’s failure in mentioning the mass killing of more than 7000 men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995, described as the worst mass slaughter in Europe since WWII. Jones argues that such a complete lack of interest in the male subject not only views women and girls as the inevitable victims and men as the perpetrators, but precludes the notion of female aggressors and male victims. Male victims are not only targets of mass slaughter as a weapon of war during conflict, but also of sexual violence. The Journal of American Medical Association in 2010 revealed that 22 per cent of men from eastern part of the DRC experienced conflict-related sexual violence. Lara Stemple (2009) also reported that 76 per cent of male political prisoners of war during the 1980s civil war in El Salvador and 80 per cent of concentration camp inmates in Sarajevo reported being sexually abused, humiliated and raped. The Refugee Law Project (2014) reported that between 1998 and 2008, sexual violence against men was reported in 25 countries affected by conflict. More accounts have since emerged in places like Libya, Central African Republic, Iraq, Iran and Syria. Other conflicts where sexual violence is used as a weapon of war against both men and women include Sudan, Uganda, Central African Republic and Liberia, and the act of ethnic cleansing and genocide to forcefully remove targeted population appear to be on the rise. Despite this evidence, in 1994 the UN Security Council failed to recognise male victims and passed a resolution which “strongly condemns the abhorrent practice of rape and abuse of women and children in the areas of armed conflict in the former Yugoslavia, which constitutes a war crime” (UNSCR 77 1994). Furthermore, in 2008, the UN Security Council also passed Resolution 1820 recognizing the use of sexual violence as a systematic weapon of war: Noting that civilians account for the vast majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict; that women and girls are particularly targeted by the use of sexual violence, including as a tactic of war to humiliate, dominate, instill fear in, disperse and/or forcibly relocate civilian members of a community or ethnic group (2008: Preamble). Despite evidence of conflict-related sexual violence against men, the UN Security Council’s policy response to the systematic use of mass rape during conflict appears to be exclusively focused on women and children as victims. Where are the men? While ‘weapon of war’ is the most common framework used to explain the occurrence of sexual violence during conflict, not all feminists agree with defining sexual violence in conflict solely as a weapon of war. Maria Eriksson Baaz and Maria Stern (2015) criticise the use of the phrase ‘weapon of war’ to explain away the occurrence of wartime rape. They argue that it fails to provide an adequate explanation as to how or why conflict-related sexual violence is considered ‘strategic’ and how it manages to “humiliate and demoralize individuals” (cited in Evans et al 2014: 592). Baaz and Stern further argue that such a simplistic generalisation reduces the understanding of sexual violence by assuming all conflicts are the same, thus concealing other varied and complex explanations. In other work, Baaz and Stern (2010), use the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as a case study to argue that in many cases, the instances of rape and sexual violence during conflict are often a combination of features. This includes a dysfunctional military system which lacks loyalty and structure; a weak justice; a penal system with no accountability for perpetrators, and a mutual disrespect and distrust between army personnel and civilians. Focusing on ‘weapon of war’ as the only explanation of sexual violence in conflict offers a limited understanding of a much more complex issue, which shields dysfunctional military institutions and systematic failures, instead of improving them in order to prevent the occurrence of conflict-related sexual violence. Furthermore, Baaz and Stern (2010) assert that focusing solely on sexual violence dangerously results in inadequate attention and resources offered to other forms of violence. This includes torture, executions, arbitrary arrest, forced labour, lack of property rights and domestic abuse. When feminist scholars and international community discuss sexual violence in conflict as a ‘weapon of war,’ this often results in a neglect of male victims of sexual violence in their discussions. By not recognizing the rights and needs of male victims of sexual violence, the existing power inequalities between men and women are further reproduced. This is further harmful to women because phrases such as ‘shame’ ‘weak’ and victimisation are exclusively associated with women. The support and rehabilitation services available for male victims of wartime sexual violence are largely non-existent, resulting in a lack of physical and psychological support for these men and boys. This produces a cycle of violence where male victims ‘lash out’ by committing violent acts themselves as a way to cope. One of the biggest flaws of the ‘weapon of war’ theory is that it assumes that sexual violence only occurs during times of conflict. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague, states at the UK Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in June 2013 that “rape is used to tear apart lives and achieve military objectives…in just the same way that tanks and bullets are” (cited in Pablo K 2013). Many contributors to the debate on the Summit mirror this line of thinking, so much so, that the Rwandan representative came up with the simplest solution to end conflict-related sexual violence: end conflicts themselves since they appear to be the cause (UK Global Summit 2013). This representation of sexual violence is problematic for two reasons. First, it fails to consider the occurrence of sexual violence during post-conflict situations. Second, it does not bear in mind the concerning changing role of UN peacekeepers. Traditionally the role of UN peacekeepers is in supporting the maintenance of peace, security and protection of civilians during post-conflict reconstruction. However, recent reports shed light of a more sinister side, with some peacekeepers committing sexual violence against civilians. There has been increased attention drawn on the issue of UN peacekeepers committing sexual violence against civilians. For example, during a UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti in 2011, a disturbing video surfaced of five Uruguayan peacekeepers raping a Haitian teenager. This is not an isolated occurrence, with the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, reporting 79 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers in 2014 (UN 2014). This issue has not escaped the attention of academic scholars such as Sandra Whitworth (2004); Paul Kirby (2011); and Dyan Mazurana et al. (2005), who have written about the linkage between UN peacekeeping and sexual violence. There is clear empirical evidence to suggest that warfare sexual violence can be explained as a ‘weapon of war,’ and as such a threat to international peace and security. However, it cannot account for all instances of conflict-related sexual violence. While sexual violence in conflict is no longer considered a by-product of war and rightly so, some feminist scholars argue that in different contexts of war its occurrence can still be attributed to a male soldier’s ‘natural’ need for sexual gratification. Biological/Heterosexual Urges Cynthia Enloe identifies three types of military rape: ‘national security rape’ as a systematic use of humiliation o punish those that are viewed as a risk to national security (2000: 123); ‘systematic mass rape’ which is used to oppress specific groups (2000: 132), and ‘recreational rape’ which she associates with the lack of access to militarised prostitution offered to male soldiers (2000: 111). Baaz and Stern (2009) study on the occurrences of sexual violence in DRC conflict zones appears to largely reflect Enloe’s ‘recreational rape.’ This is because it is linked to the belief in men’s heterosexual biological need for sexual gratification (Higate 2004; Witworth 2004; Seifert 1996). In this way, wartime sexual violence is a result of men’s biological heterosexual sexual needs (Paglia 1992; Thornhill and Palmer 2000; Palmer 1991), which in times of war are often fulfilled by taking a woman by force, due to absence of social constraints and lack of ‘normal’ access to women (Woods 2009; Baaz and Stern 2009; Enloe 2000). Baaz and Stern (2009) provide significant insight into the mind-set of the DRC soldiers on the reasons why they rape, which challenges stereotypical notions of masculinity and what it means to be a ‘good soldier’. During an interview conducted by the authors, the soldiers explain their views on rape and the reasons why soldiers may commit such acts by differentiating between “lust rapes” and “evil rapes:” There is the rape when a soldier is away, when he has not seen his women for a while and has needs and no money (lust/need rape). But there are also the bad rapes, as a result of the spirit of war […] to humiliate the dignity of people. This is an evil rape (Male Lt, cited in Baaz and Stern 2009: 495).
Interviews Secondary Data
What is Critical Discourse Analysis?
Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis
Chapter Two: Theorizing Gender and Security Poststructuralist Feminist Theory
Gender and War
Gender and Feminist Theory
The Role of Women in War
Protection of Women
Women as Aggressors
Hegemonic Militarised Masculinity
Soldiers and Masculinity
Are all Men Violent?
Critical Security Studies
Securitization and the Copenhagen School
Feminist Critical Security Studies
Chapter Three: Sexual Violence Literature Review
Defining Sexual Violence in Conflict
Explanations for Sexual Violence in Conflict
Weapon of War
Craziness of War
Neglect of Male Victims
Physical Violence against Men
Sexual Violence against Men
Chapter Four: Emergence of Sexual Violence in Conflict
“Comfort Women” Before and During WWII
Further Developments for Women’s Rights following WWII
The Former Yugoslavia
Further Developments on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence Post-Bosnian War
Chapter Five: UN Security Council Resolution 1325
Path to UN Security Council Resolution 1325
What is UNSCR 1325?
Resolution 1325 and its Successes
Critique of Resolution 1325
Chapter Six: UN Security Council Resolution 2106
Path to UN Security Council Resolution 2106
What is UNSCR 2106?
Critique of Resolution 2106
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A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Politics and International Relations, University of Auckland, 2015.