B Diken & CB Laustsen
Diken, B., & Laustsen, C. B. (2005). Becoming abject: Rape as a weapon of war. Body & Society, 11(1), 111-128.
Testicles are a national symbol, a trademark of the race; other peoples have luck, tradition, erudition, history, reason – but we alone have balls. (Danilo Kis quoted in Bracewell, 2000: 57)
- Introduction: rape and warfare
For centuries organized rape has been an integral aspect of warfare. Yet, remarkably, it has been absent from the classics on warfare, which have predominantly focused on ‘regular’ warfare in which one army confronts another in a battle for the conquest or defence of a territory. Within the last two decades, however, there has been increasing interest in ‘asymmetric’ warfare and accordingly in phenomena such as guerrilla tactics, terrorism, hostage taking together with aspects of war related to identity, be it religious fundamentalism and holy war, ethnic cleansing, or war rape (Kaldor, 1998). War rape is perhaps the clearest example of an asymmetric strategy. In war rape, the enemy soldier attacks a civilian (not a combatant), a woman (not another male soldier), and only indirectly with the aim of holding or taking a territory. The prime aim of war rape is to inflict traumas and thus to destroy family ties and group solidarity within the enemy camp. Apart from de-moralization of the enemy, war rape can also become an integral aspect of ethnic cleansing.