10 October 2017

Gang Rape in War

War is a package deal, of which atrocity and gang rape are part of the package.

Against Our Will by Susan Brownmiller, 1975, Excerpts

Rape in warfare is not bound by definitions of which wars are “just” or “unjust.” Rape was a weapon of terror as the German Hun marched through Belgium in World War I. Rape was a weapon of revenge as the Russian Army marched to Berlin in World War II. Rape got out of hand when the Pakistani Army battled Bangladesh. Raped reared its head as American GI’s searched and destroyed in the highland of Vietnam. Rape flourishes in warfare irrespective of nationality or geographic location. Rape was outlawed as a criminal act under the international rules of war. Yet rape persists as a common act of war.

Men who rape in war are ordinary Joes, made unordinary by the entry into the most exclusive male-only club in the world. Victory in arms brings group power undreamed of in civilian life. The unreal situation of a world without women becomes the prime reality. To take a life looms more significant than to make life, and the gun in the hand is power. The sickness of warfare feeds on itself. A certain number of soldiers must prove their newly won superiority – prove it to a woman, to themselves, to other men. In the name of victory and the power of the gun, war provides men with a tacit license to rape. In the act and in the excuse, rape in war reveals the male psyche in its boldest form, without the veneer of ”chivalry” or civilization.

On Killing by LtCol Dave Grossman, 2009, Excerpts

The ultimate fear and horror in most modern lives is to be raped or beaten, to be physically degraded in front of our loved ones, to have our family harmed and the sanctity of our homes invaded by aggressive and hateful intruders. In rape the psychological harm usually far exceeds the physical injury. The trauma of rape involves minimal fear of death or injury; far more damaging is the impotence, shock, and horror in being so hated and despised as to be debased and abused by a fellow human being.

Throughout history women have been the greatest single group of victims of this environment process. Women have been defiled, debased, and dehumanized for the aggrandizement of others. Rape is a very important part of the process of dominating and dehumanizing an enemy; and this process of mutual empowering and bonding at the expense of others is exactly what occurs during gang rapes. In war, empowerment and bonding through such gang rapes often occur on a national level.

Gang rapes and gang or cult killings in times or peace and war are not “senseless violence.” They are instead powerful acts of group bonding and criminal enabling that, quite often, have a hidden purpose of promoting the wealth, power, or vanity of a specific leader or cause at the expense of the innocent.

Brian De Palma docudrama about an incident in which a 15-year old Iraqi girl was raped and killed by U.S. soldiers.
Casualty of War
Similar movie starring Michael J. Fox where U.S. soldiers rape a Vietnamese girl.

Rape of Sabine. Jacques-Louis David, Intervention of the Sabine Women, 1799

Rape is an instrument of war in Central African Republic conflict
05 Oct 2017
Rape and sexual slavery have been used as weapons of war across Central Africa Republic, with armed groups carrying out brutal attacks with impunity. Research by Human Rights Watch found “Armed groups are using rape in a brutal, calculated way to punish and terrorize women and girls.” The study detailed cases of women and girls who were held as sexual slaves for up to 18 months. Many of the women endured multiple sexual attacks, in addition to other forms of torture. The Central African Republic has been wracked by sectarian violence for the past five years. Both factions, Muslims and Christians, have used sexual violence as revenge against women perceived to be supporters of the rival party.

Sudan soldiers face trial for rape and murder
30 May 2017
Thirteen South Sudanese soldiers accused of raping five foreign aid workers appeared before a military court on Tuesday, a case seen as a test of the government's ability to put people on trial for war crimes. The attack took place on July 11, 2016, as President Salva Kiir's troops won a three-day battle in Juba over opposition forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar. Between 50 to 100 soldiers arrived in the hotel in the afternoon of July 11 and began looting. Five women working with humanitarian organizations were then raped. UN investigators and rights group have frequently accused both the army and rebels of murder, torture and rape since the civil war began in 2013, and say the crimes almost always go unpunished.

Philippines' Duterte under fire for second rape joke
27 May 2017
The president of the Philippines has come under fire for joking about rape in a speech to soldiers. While speaking at a military camp after imposing martial law across the south of the country, he said they were allowed to rape up to three women. Mr. Duterte's words were: "I will be imprisoned for you. If you rape three (women), I will say that I did it.” Chelsea Clinton wrote on Twitter that Mr. Duterte was "a murderous thug with no regard for human rights" and that "rape is never a joke". And a women's political party in the country, Gabriela, said in a statement: "Rape is not a joke. Martial law and the heightened vulnerability to military abuse that it brings to women and children are not a joke either." Last year, Mr. Duterte joked about a 1989 rape and murder of an Australian missionary. He said that as mayor of the town where it happened, he should have been "first in line".

UN condemns 'devastating' Rohingya abuse in Myanmar
03 Feb 2017
The UN has accused security forces in Myanmar of committing serious human rights abuses, including gang-rape, savage beatings and child killing. One mother recounted how her five-year-old daughter was murdered while trying to protect her from rape. In another case, an eight-month-old baby was reportedly killed while five security officers gang-raped his mother. Of 101 women interviewed, 52 said they had been raped or experienced sexual violence from the security forces.

UN Accuses South Sudan Forces Of Deliberately Raping, Killing Civilians
11 Mar 2016
GENEVA (Reuters) - South Sudan's government operated a "scorched earth policy" of deliberate rape, pillage and killing of civilians during the civil war in 2015, a report published on Friday by the U.N. human rights office said. "The report contains harrowing accounts of civilians suspected of supporting the opposition, including children and the disabled, killed by being burned alive, suffocated in containers, shot, hanged from trees or cut to pieces." The prevalence of rape suggests its use in the conflict has become an acceptable practice by (government) SPLA soldiers and affiliated armed militias. The scale and types of sexual violence are described in searing, devastating detail, as is the almost casual, yet calculated, attitude of those slaughtering civilians and destroying property and livelihood. Although all sides have committed atrocities that may amount to crimes against humanity, government forces were most responsible in 2015, the report said. South Sudan's war began in December 2013, throwing the world's newest country into chaos, killing tens of thousands, displacing more than 2 million, and plunging at least 40,000 into a famine.

'Comfort women': Japan and South Korea hail agreement
28 Dec 2015
The leaders of Japan and South Korea have welcomed the agreement between their two countries to settle the issue of "comfort women" forced to work in Japanese brothels during World War Two. Japan has apologized and will pay 1bn yen ($8.3m; £5.6m) - the amount South Korea asked for - to fund victims. Estimates suggest up to 200,000 women were sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during WW2, many of them Korean. Other women came from China, the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan. The issue has been the key cause of strained relations between Japan and South Korea.

Hague and Jolie unveil plan to end war rape
11 Jun 2014

William Hague and UN special envoy Angelina Jolie are seeking global support for a new plan to end impunity for sex crimes committed in war zones. The pair have been hosting a London summit on the issue. Hollywood actress Ms Jolie said the goal was to make it possible to obtain justice even in fragile countries.

Burma military 'using rape as weapon'
15 Jan 2014

Burma's military has continued to use rape as a weapon of war even after a nominally civilian government was elected in 2010, a women's group says. The Women's League of Burma said it had documented more than 100 cases, some involving children as young as eight. Most of the cases were linked to conflict in the border areas of Kachin and Northern Shan State. "Their widespread and systematic nature indicates a structural pattern: rape is still used as an instrument of war and oppression," the report said.  "Sexual violence is used as a tool by the Burmese military to demoralize and destroy ethnic communities," it added. The last three years have seen far-reaching political change in Burma, but the army has so far shown little appetite for change.

UN classifies rape a 'war tactic'
20 Jun 2008
The UN Security Council has voted unanimously in favor of a resolution classifying rape as a weapon of war. The document describes the deliberate use of rape as a tactic in war and a threat to international security. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the world now recognized that sexual violence profoundly affected not only the health and safety of women, but the economic and social stability of their nations. 

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