Women and the Genocidal Rape of Other Women: Gendered Dynamics of Gendered War Crime

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Expanding on work from my 2007 book, Mothers, Monsters, Whores: Women’s Violence in Global Politics (with Caron Gentry), this paper looks at the dynamics of women’s participation in the war crime of genocidal rape against other women. The women whose actions this paper addresses participated in a variety of conflicts (from Rwanda to the former Yugoslavia) at a variety of levels (from perpetration of sexual violence to leadership). It asks two (related but importantly distinct) questions about the gender dynamics of women’s participation. First, it explores boh women’s motivations for participation in sexual violence and narratives of their actual behavior to gain leverage in explaining women’s violating other women. Second, it looks at how women’s choices to engage in sexual violence are portrayed in media and scholarly accounts, looking for gender differences in consumption of women’s violence in addition to its commission. The paper looks at these questions by exploring five cases of women’s (alleged) commission of the war crime of genocidal rape. The paper concludes with a reformulated approach to the laws and norms against genocidal rape in the international community, taking account of women’s roles in the crime not only as (often) victims but also as (sometime) perpetrators.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConfronting Global Gender Justice
Subtitle of host publicationWomen’s Lives, Human Rights
EditorsDebra Bergoffen, Paula Ruth Gilbert, Tamara Harvey, Connie L. McNeely
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780203838594
ISBN (Print)9780415780797
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2010


  • gender
  • conflict sexual violence
  • genocide
  • feminist IR
  • war
  • conflict
  • women's violence

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