Essay: Rape Has Often Been Deployed As An Effective Weapon Of War

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Essay: Rape Has Often Been Deployed As An Effective Weapon Of War

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Essay: Rape Has Often Been Deployed As An Effective Weapon Of War

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Write an essay on “Rape has often been deployed as an effective ‘weapon of war’.” 

Rape in war was recorded as a crime in 1474. Before that it was seen as a trophy for war. Rape in war was a time honored military policy at that time; soldiers used to rape women of the enemy as a part of victory and as a weapon to terrorize and mortify the enemy to remove them from the area. Wartime rape was different from sexual violence. It was used as a weapon by male soldiers of one country against the unarmed women civilians of another country. The strategy behind rape was to capture, torture, rape, kill, and forcefully impregnate the women to bear enemy kids. Thus, preventing them from expanding their own nation (Uvin & Peter, 1988). During the wars the male used to consider them “reproducers” of nation and thus targets them against the national violence. In the below paragraphs, an explanation how rape was seen as a weapon in war. The history when rape was started is explained, the Bosnia and Kosovo war is explained, the Sierra Leone conflict is explained, Sexual violence in Burma is explained, and the use of war as a weapon by U.S. forces is also explained. In all these wars and conflicts how rape was used as a weapon is explained in detail. The paragraphs also show the value and existence of women in ancient times.
Rape is a tool, a strategy, a plan, policy where the penis is a justified weapon to defeat the unarmed females. The earliest point when rape was said as a weapon of war was in 1863 in the Articles 44 & 47 of Lieber code describes, “Rape is prohibited under the penalty of death.” It was only in 1949 rape was considered as a crime and was stated in Article 27 of IV Geneva Convention stating protection of women against rape. However, the cruelties against women continued till 1972 with same pace despite of Geneva conventions. After that even in 2008 United Nations observed rape is widely violation against women but still it is least condemn war crime (Mackenzie, 2010). Thus, it was suggested Rape is a weapon of war. Finally, the Group of eight in 2013 agreed on a declaration to stop violence, conflicts, and more to be done to boycott the myth that war is inevitable consequence of war.
In past methodical use of rape as a tactic of war is employed in many of the conflicts. The strategy was used in Bosnia and Kosovo and in the civil wars in Rwanda, Liberia and Uganda (Mibenge & Chiseche, 2008). According to history, rape was also used as a tactic in Bangladesh’s war for independence, anti-Chinese riots in Indonesia and by the Japanese soldiers in China and Korea during World War II (Sharlach, 2000). Evidences in Bosnian war suggests that rape was a rite of initiation. The fellow Serbs were imposed in to a brotherhood of guilt by being forced to rape. The soldiers who refused to rape were humiliated and even killed (Bracewell, 2000). This clearly pictures how rape was a weapon. From northern part of Bosnia, Cvijetin Maksimovie was one who was forced to perform rape attacks. In Bosnia, it was to make the distinction between groups Serbs, Muslims and Croats. A large number of rapes were reported during the Bosnia war. The estimate suggests around 20,000 to 50, 000 rape victims exist. The rape was done in the victim’s houses, in brothels, and some in rape camps. The most terrible act was the forced impregnation that was practiced in rape camps in Brcko, Dboj, Foca, Gorazde, Kalinobik, Vesegrad, Keatern, Luka, Manjaca, Osmarka and Tronopolje. Women in these rape camps were raped daily until they gynaecologist confirms the pregnancy and were jailed till the period where abortion is not possible. The child from these mothers’s was given for ethnic cleansing afterwards (Boose, 2000).
Another empirical illustration is from the conflict of Sierra Leone during the year 1991-2001 were infinite atrocities were carried by the opponent forces (Diken & Laustsen, 2005). To show the power, the opponents used use sexually exploits the civilian populations. During the civil wars, civilian males were attacked and females were sexually exploited. The sexual exploitation consisted of gang rape, sexual assault and slavery. Human Rights Watch a NGO has documented several cases in which the fathers were forced to see the rape of their daughter child and small boys of age around 11 raping a middle age female (Kelsall, Michelle, & Shanee, 2007). Additionally, knives, guns, and sticks were inserted in to the vagina of females to cause genital mutilation and spread sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, syphilis etc. The rebel forces abducted females in to act of slavery and forced marriages. They were brutally harmed and beaten up by the child soldiers. The reason to behind sexual violence was to terrorize the civilian men by humiliating and raping their women (Sydney Morning Herald, 2009). This laid an impact on the civilian population that they are so weak and can’t even protect their women. 
In the above case histories it can be seen sexual violence was more of intended to break the taboos and undermine cultural values. Sexual exploitation was majorly used as a weapon to threaten the civilian population, to make them weak and gain over power them. Sex in all the wars was never seen a way to fulfill the lust and gain pleasure but, by the rebel powers it was seen like a weapon to defeat their enemies. The same way of sexual violence was also seen Rwanda, Somalia, DRC, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Zimbabwe. From year 2004-2008 in Eastern DRC rape was used as a major weapon and thousands of girls and women were raped in this short span of four years. There are many documentaries made on the rape incidences that took in Democratic Republic of Congo during the period of civil wars (Cockburn, 2010). The major conflict started in eastern part of Congo in 1988. This later, was continued by the army and become the “Africa’s World War” which caused death of about 5.4 million people. It was the deadliest conflict after the World War II which utilized the same idea of using women as weapon of war. The statistics of United Nations shows that around 8000 women were raped in the conflict of 2009. The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative report of April shows that about 60% of the female victims in one part of the country were attacked by the rebel military forces and around half of them were gang raped.
The country of Burma is another example where rape was used by the regimen to control their people and arm the enemies. The military men from Burma raped females Shan, Kachin, Chin, Karen, Mon, Karenni and Arakan states. A female Ma Lang, was brutally raped by the Burmese in a forest and all the male hostage were instructed to watch and drink poisoned alcohol. Lang’s parents reported the case to military authorities but received no response. Yet another case, took place were a female was hung on a cross naked, derisive the Christian religion. This case indicated how sexual exploitation and violence was deliberately used as a weapon to threaten and torture local ethnic peoples (Soreanu, 2010). The rapes were majorly gang rape and were done by officers showing that there is understanding between the officers and have the right to rape without any consequence. These incidences show that rape was acceptable by the troops and were acceptable and encouraged by them. The regime troop’s raised their voice and concerns about the sexual violence and by the UN Special Reporter for Human Rights in Burma. In spite of this, the SPDC denied it and rape was continued.
Another shocking case study regarding rape was among the U.S. forces and was accused of using the rape technique against Iraqi’s. The CBS News channel published pictures that shows sexual abuse and torture of the Iraqi’s in the Abu Ghraib prison. There are several pictures that picture an American soldier raping a women prisoner and another male soldier raping a male prisoner (Copelon & Rhonda, 2000). Pictures on sexual abuse are also released. In that some pictures show sexual violence of female prisoners by inserting objects like light tubes, wire and other sharp objects their vaginas and forcefully stripping the ladies to show their breasts. All the details were given by the Major General Antonio Taguba, an army officer who conducted the inquiry in Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq. It was seen in these fights the commanders and officers of the jail were the ones who threatened the prisoners and raped them. The evidences say not only females but also males were rape in Abu Gharib jail. All these things suggest that rape was allowed and there were no consequences of it. The U.S. forces raped the prisoners to show how powerful they are in front of them. Rape was a sword to shut the prisoner’s mouth and threaten them so as they can never stand for themselves. It was used in the same way in U.S. as a weapon to defeat the enemies (Schauer, 1987).
Rape in war and conflicts was never seen as a crime in ancient times. In fact, it was seen as a necessity to to defeat and show power over the troops. Rape was more of seen as a courageous act which was conducted by the powerful armies, officers and commanders. Rape was more of a reward for the winning team as the opponents was defeated leaving behind their children and women. It was also seen that the winners use to rape and the loser’s side use to publicize these rape incidences so as to gain sympathy from other nations and find a reason to unite with them. By loosing side the publicizing was to take help from other nations and gain power by uniting with them. Men belonging to the conquered nation view their rape of women as an act of humiliation. The conquering soldiers after raping destroy the power, property of the conquered men (Mostov, 1995). Rape during war was to express the victory and as a tool rule and control the troops of the conquered nation.
Rape of women and its usage in war was practiced in all major wars. The Second World War, the war of Bosnia, the Sierra Leona conflict has shown how possible suggestions as why rape was a weapon in war. The conquering nations used rape as a way to conquer the enemies (Mertus & Julie, 2004). It was ironical how sex was seen as a weapon rather than an act of pleasure. Not only rape but, force impregnation was another ironical practice during all these wars. Ethnic cleansing was another such procedure practiced in Bosnia after procreation. The thought and the beliefs were only to show the power over the enemies. The women were the weakest being that existed in ancient times. There were just seen as a thing which can be captured by anyone by just raping them. The essay seems to bring upon an idea of how much values and existence women had in ancient times. The other ironical thing was that rape was never considered as a crime in spite the Geneva conventions rule that sexual violence should be stopped and the oppressor would be punished. It was seen there was no law to protect and safeguard women which is a major reason to use them as a weapon in war. So many docmnetries show the practice of such things in ancient times. Although this practice has been stopped to a larger extent but it’s painful to read about such practices. 
Boose, L. (2002). ‘Crossing the River Drina: Bosnian rape camps, Turkish impalement and Serb cultural memory’, Signs, 28(1): 71-96
Bracewell,W. (2000). ‘Rape In Kosovo: masculinity and Serbian nationalism’, Nations and Nationalism, 6(4): 563-590. 
Cockburn, C. (2010). Gender relations as causal in militarization and war: A feminist standpoint. International Feminist Journal of Politics 12(2): 139–157.
Copelon, Rhonda. (2000). Integrating crimes against women into international criminal law. McGill Law Journal 46: 217–240
Diken, B. & Laustsen, C.B. (2005) Becoming abject: Rape as a weapon of war. Body and Society 11(1): 111–128.
Kelsall, Michelle, S., & Shanee, S. (2007). ”When we wanted to talk about rape”: Silencing sexual violence at the Special Court for Sierra Leone. International Journal of Transitional Justice 1: 355– 374.
Mackenzie, M. (2010) Securitizing sex? Towards a theory of the utility of wartime sexual violence. International Feminist Journal of Politics 12(2): 202–221
Mertus & Julie. (2004). The impact of international trials for wartime rape on women’s agency. The International Journal of Feminist Politics 6: 110–128
Mibenge & Chiseche. (2008). Gender and ethnicity in Rwanda: On legal remedies for victims of wartime sexual violence. In Gender, violent conflict, and development, ed. Dubravka Zarkov, 145–179
Mostov, J. (1995). ‘”Our women”/”their women”: symbolic boundaries, territorial markers, and violence in the Balkans’, Peace & Change, 20(4): 515-529.
Schauer, F. (1987) Causation theory and the causes of sexual violence. American Bar Foundation Research Journal 12(4): 737–770
Sharlach, L. (2000) Rape as genocide: Bangladesh, the Former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda. New Political Science 22(1): 89–102.
Soreanu, R. (2010). Feminist creativities and the disciplinary imaginary of International Relations. International Political Sociology 4(4): 380–400.

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