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The Fixation on Wartime Rape

The Fixation on Wartime Rape Since the early 1990s, wartime rape has been successfully prosecuted as a war crime, a crime against humanity and a crime of genocide. Feminist scholars, however, warn that the unprecedented attention to wartime sexual violence within international criminal law has had wide-ranging and unintended consequences. The aim of this article is to examine the heightened consciousness around wartime sexual violence and its ascendancy as a crime against ‘humanity’. The article draws attention to two discourses. The first is the feminist political project, which sought to delineate wartime rape as a crime of grave magnitude that warranted explicit treatment under international criminal law; the second is the postmodernist feminist discourse, which questions the desirability of fixating on sexual violence against women in conflict. The point of this article is not to situate myself in either camp but rather to examine the power of international criminal law to pronounce meaning, demarcate the gravity of crimes and silence alternative stories. I will argue that due to the impassioned political controversy over rape within populist, scholarly and legal realms, not only are the substantive problems associated with rape prosecutions often left obscured but problematic rape hierarchies are reified and victim experiences further marginalised. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social & Legal Studies: An International Journal SAGE

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References (70)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2013
ISSN
0964-6639
eISSN
1461-7390
DOI
10.1177/0964663913499061
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Since the early 1990s, wartime rape has been successfully prosecuted as a war crime, a crime against humanity and a crime of genocide. Feminist scholars, however, warn that the unprecedented attention to wartime sexual violence within international criminal law has had wide-ranging and unintended consequences. The aim of this article is to examine the heightened consciousness around wartime sexual violence and its ascendancy as a crime against ‘humanity’. The article draws attention to two discourses. The first is the feminist political project, which sought to delineate wartime rape as a crime of grave magnitude that warranted explicit treatment under international criminal law; the second is the postmodernist feminist discourse, which questions the desirability of fixating on sexual violence against women in conflict. The point of this article is not to situate myself in either camp but rather to examine the power of international criminal law to pronounce meaning, demarcate the gravity of crimes and silence alternative stories. I will argue that due to the impassioned political controversy over rape within populist, scholarly and legal realms, not only are the substantive problems associated with rape prosecutions often left obscured but problematic rape hierarchies are reified and victim experiences further marginalised.

Journal

Social & Legal Studies: An International JournalSAGE

Published: Mar 1, 2014

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