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Sexualised wartime violence

Women as „Spoils of war“, sexual expression of aggression, serious human rights crime

Women have always been regarded by men as as "obvious" "spoils of war": their bodies symbolise the supposed honour of the men and their "violation" demonstrates power over them as opponents and shows superiority. Rape and torture of women are used in a targeted manner: to demoralise the opponent, for the purpose of ethnically-motivated displacement and as a means of social oppression. Therefore, the term "sexual violence" can be misleading: Rape is not an aggressive expression of sexuality, but a sexual expression of aggression (Translated from Ruth Seifert, Vergewaltigung und Krieg, 1993). The violence is sexualised. Sexualised violence has nothing to do with sexuality – not from the perpetrator’s and certainly not from the victim’s perspective. It serves to exert power and to control and oppress the other(s). Sexualised violence is not a petty offence – it is a serious human rights crime.

 

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