Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War?

Perceptions, Prescriptions, Problems in the Congo and Beyond

Maria Eriksson Baaz and Maria Stern

Description

Based on original fieldwork in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as research material from other conflict zones, Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War? challenges the recent prominence given to sexual violence, bravely highlighting various problems with isolating sexual violence from other violence in war.
All too often in conflict situations, rape is referred to as a 'weapon of war', a term presented as self-explanatory through its implied storyline of gender and warring. In this provocative but much-needed book, Eriksson Baaz and Stern challenge the dominant understandings of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict settings.

Reading with and against feminist analyses of the interconnections between gender, warring, violence and militarization, the authors address many of the thorny issues inherent in the arrival of sexual violence on the global security agenda. Based on original fieldwork in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as research material from other conflict zones, Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War? challenges the recent prominence given to sexual violence, bravely highlighting various problems with isolating sexual violence from other violence in war.

A much-anticipated book by two acknowledged experts in the field, on an issue that has become an increasingly important security, legal and gender topic.

Author Bio

Maria Eriksson Baaz is associate professor at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, and a senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden. Her research interests are in African politics, security and development, post-colonial theory and gender. Recently she has focused on masculinity, militarization and defence reform interventions, with a particular focus on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Maria Stern is professor in peace and development studies at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg. Her research interests are security studies, the security-development nexus, politics of identity, and feminist theory. Recently she has focused on masculinity, militarization and defence reform interventions, with a particular focus on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. Sex/gender violence
  • 2. 'Rape as a weapon of war'?
  • 3. The messiness and uncertainty of warring
  • 4. Post-coloniality, victimcy and humanitarian engagement: being a good global feminist?
  • 5. Concluding thoughts and unanswered questions

Reviews

'The authors break new ground as they move past depictions of the inherent nature of men and women, tired victim/perpetrator dichotomies, and simplistic, racialised and neo-colonial depictions of rape within war. This book will challenge feminist scholars in particular to untangle themselves from dominant - often paternalistic, racist, and essentializing - narratives associated with wartime sexual violence.'
Megan MacKenzie, The University of Sydney

'In the last decade have we all crafted and wielded a too-cohesive, thus oddly too-comforting, story about wartime strategic rape? Weighing their rare interviews with Congolese male soldiers, Maria Eriksson Baaz and Maria Stern push us all not to sympathize with perpetrators, but to think seriously about the messiness of both war waging and storytelling.'
Cynthia Enloe, author of Nimo's War, Emma's War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War

'In challenging conventional wisdom about "rape as a weapon of war" the authors shine a penetrating light on the roots of a tragic yet profoundly misunderstood phenomenon. With the stated purpose of "expanding our grids of intelligibility", this painstakingly researched, tightly argued and disturbing inquest is likely to generate a fair amount of controversy among social scientists and humanitarian activists.'
René Lemarchand, University of Florida

'Drawing on evidence largely related to the conflict(s) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - "the rape capital of the world" - Baaz and Stern interrogate simplistic notions of rape as a "weapon of war" and provide readers with deeper, alternative understandings of sexual violence. The authors provide a thoughtful and troubling engagement with one of the most brutal aspects of modern conflicts. Deconstructing the dominant narratives, they produce a post-colonial feminist reading that is succinct and powerful. This is a much-needed intervention and an excellent contribution to understanding conflict, in the Congo and beyond.'
Kevin Dunn, Hobart and William Smith College

Details

Publication Date: 9 May 2013
168 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781780321639
Hardback: 9781780321646
eBook ePub: 9781780321660
eBook PDF: 9781780321653
eBook Kindle: 9781780321677

Appears in

Why is peer review so important?

Learn more about the various types of peer review, why it’s so important, what the social and political considerations of peer review are and how we use it at Zed Books.