Rape As A War Tactic Essay

1056 words - 4 pages

Duty, Honor, and Rape: A War's Hidden Tragedy When war erupts, the rules we lived by before the battle no longer apply. The purposeful ending of lives and the devastation of property become widely accepted, either reluctantly or wholeheartedly. We must defeat the enemy, we say. We must kill. We must win. Therefore, whatever dark side there is to being human that allows us to accomplish those goals is permitted to see the light of day. We may regret an act committed in war, but it is likely to be justified in some way, as the savagery of the warrior is deemed necessary to fulfill our goal of victory. Emotions usually repressed are encouraged and violence is embraced as a needed activity. Rape, in times of war, is as old as the Bible and as new as today's headlines on the Kosovar refugee crisis. From the military laws laid out in Deuteronomy 1 to the recent Serbian threat, victims of rape seem as much a part of a war-zone as bodies upon a battlefield. A tragic side effect of ethnic war is the manipulation of rape figures to advance special interests. The context of war adds a new dimension to the issue of sexual violence, now an 'accepted' tactic that is widely used in wars around the globe. However, rape has been little more than a footnote in the history of warfare. The motivations behind such acts vary from obvious notions of political incentives to the ideology of deep-seeded human nature. Rape strikes in many different levels. The obvious being an attack against the individual-the personal identity and integrity, one that touches the core constructions of identity and ontological security in its most personal and profound sense. The act of rape takes away the fight of the victims to control their own bodies. It makes the victims feel unworthy and inferior. It destroys a person's fundamental assumptions about the safety of the world, the positive value of the self, and the meaningful order of creation. However, not only does rape harm the victimized women, it disgraces the men who were unable to protect them and the communities in which they live. Often, the assault is directed at the individual, her family, and community all together. As well as an attempt to dominate, humiliate, and control behavior, rape in war can also be intended to disable an enemy by destroying the bonds of family and society. Many acts of rapes are conducted in public. Family and relatives are often forced to watch soldiers rape their wives, mothers, and sisters. Husbands are forced to lay on the floor as soldiers rape their wives on top of them, using them as mattresses. The terrorism of rape sometimes forces entire communities into flight, further disintegrating community safeguards against rape. Rape and other forms of sexual violence were used in former Yugoslovia as a weapon of ethnic cleansing. It was a way of humiliating women and emasculating the men. Rape had always been regarded as an ugly side effect...

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