Negotiating Rape

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In the face of the growing number of conflicts worldwide, weapons of war have become increasingly creative and disturbing. The alarming numbers of victims of violence through direct conflicts throughout various regions of the world have included those who experienced rape as a weapon of war. If the intent of the perpetrators to their victims is to inflict pain, then the idea of lifelong invisible pain on specific targeted groups is being accomplished by the use of rape on women and girls. In conflict situations where the victims are of a specific groups; ethnic, racial or tribal, the marginalization of women must not be denied and dismissed as mere collateral damage. The women and girls who are victims of rape as a weapon of war must emphatically be noted as a specialized targeted group in conflicts.
As with other victimized groups in conflicts, the need for negotiation in crisis to try and ensure safety and or survival as is noted in crisis such as the 1994 Rwandan genocide, many women and girls find themselves and their families forced into unpleasant situation of negotiation. Facing lifelong trauma people are forced to make decisions that are unfathomable to citizens and groups not having personal direct contact with human induced conflicts. Bargaining becomes a primary tool for survival. The desperation of individuals drives an unimaginable negotiation process. Women and girls facing multiple partner (gang) rapes are forced to make the decision of being the sex-slave of one person such as a warlord. Even though in all practicality there is the continuous cycle of rape, the rationale of one person rape is the more bearable choice. Mothers negotiate for the safety of their daughters by offering themselves as an alternative and fathers, brothers and other male relatives present themselves as sacrifices whether to be mutilated or killed to save their female family members. It would appear that there is no choice in a rape situation; however, the degradation and humiliation of rape sometimes trump any other outcome so rape as a weapon of war has now become negotiatable.

Keywords: Negotiating, Rape, Weapon, War
Stream: Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies, Humanities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Negotiating Rape

Careen Hutchinson

Student, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nova Southeastern University
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA

Ref: I08P0761