If it were between countries, wed call it a war

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If it were between countries, wed call it a war ...

    ndReport of the AMI to the 3 meeting of the OIC-Working-group “Violence against women”

    in Rome, 20th Sept. 2003: “Violence as a wartime and as a power weapon”

    1. Definition of the Problem

    "If it were between countries, we'd call it a war. If it were a disease, we'd call it an epidemic. If it were an oil spill, we'd call it a disaster. But it is happening to women, and it's just an everyday affair. It is violence against women."

    We are now at a very crucial period in the movement to eradicate violence against women. Following the events of Sept. 11, the news on virtually every station featured a white wealthy male expert to interpret the situation and awaken the patriotism of the masses with carefully chosen war rhetoric. Once again, the mainstream media was flooded with violent and militant notions of conflict resolution. Day after day, the media continue to report domestic violence, femicide, and rape without provoking much of a public outcry or collective demand to address the endemic seriously. The gruesome murders of two local women, one on September 20th and the other on August 27, went largely unnoticed by the public. Susan Palmer, of the Register Guard, reported that "such acts don't shock the entire nation the way the terrorist attacks...did, but they are privately horrific". According to Annie Neal, an advocate in UN County's domestic violence office, 21 domestic violence homicides have been committed this year compared to 10 during 2000. Violence against women has become an accepted aspect of society. Now that many people are desensitized to it, it is understood to be an inevitable consequence of male power and privilege.

    In times of war, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish "legitimate" violence from "illegitimate" violence. Bush has proclaimed the Taliban "aroused a mighty giant" and shall feel the wrath of the United States, yet in the same breath, he urged Americans to practice tolerance and refrain from racist violence directed towards Muslims and Arab-Americans. With the media and government's use of emotionally charged language regarding the urgency of US retaliation, there will inevitably be some who interpret the call for "justice" as a call for violent crimes against individuals. The recent assaults against Arab-Americans and Muslims have been committed within the context of a racist society at war with a predominantly Muslim country. Some Americans have taken it upon themselves to serve their country by taking the battle to the streets and ridding the country of difference, in this case Arabs-Americans and Muslims. The blatant contradictions of the state's military action versus its calls for tolerance go unquestioned by many people. It is as if one is expected to completely disconnect state violence from violence committed in the private sphere.

    Militarism is defined as the "pursuit or celebration of war ideals" and/or an adoption of 1. War and the military ideals and objectives as state policy by governments or countries

    preparation for war are normalized and even considered to be desirable social activities. It is important to recognize that the process of militarization exists regardless of whether a war is being fought or not. The Cold War provides the perfect example of a philosophy of militarism even no country posed a serious threat to national security. According to Jacklyn Cock and Laurie Nathan in “War and Society”: The Militarization of South Africa, it is women who suffer the consequences of this process because "militarism depends on distorted government budgets, but it also depends on the public denial or trivialization of wife battering, rape, and pornography." The Pentagon's current budget has been inflated to $329 billion with military expenditures expected to top $1 billion a month in these early stages of the war.

     1 Encarta World Dictionary

    J. Schroefl 1

    ndReport of the AMI to the 3 meeting of the OIC-Working-group “Violence against women”

    in Rome, 20th Sept. 2003: “Violence as a wartime and as a power weapon”

    Domestic violence and rape become virtually invisible during armed conflict as the interests of the nation take precedence over the rights of women. Though we are finally beginning to hear about the plight of the women of Afghanistan, Ellen Goodman, associate editor and columnist for The Boston Globe, is quick to point out, "we've been more willing to condemn the Taliban for destroying women's rights than to insist on those rights in a post-Taliban world." In recent plans, constructed by the Afghans, Pakistanis and Americans, to form an ethnic and politically inclusive Afghan government to replace the Taliban, "no one...has called for the participation of women, even though women, after many years of war, now 2." The absence of almost certainly make up the majority of the adult Afghan population

    women in this discussion makes it painfully obvious that liberating Afghan women is by no means a priority in this conflict. They are merely being used to further achieve U.S. political and military objectives in Afghanistan.

    The relationship between the militarization of society and violence targeting women cannot be denied. War normalizes the use of violence to achieve political objectives, blurring the distinction between legitimate (state/pubic) and illegitimate (interpersonal/private) violence. How can one condemn family violence while legitimating state violence, such as that of the U.S. against Afghanistan? Attempting to distinguish between 'legitimate' and 'illegitimate' violence only leads to a rhetorical war that women will never win. In her article, Learning to Kill: Masculinity, the Family and Violence in Natal, Catherine Campbell argues that violence in the public sphere is reflective of violence within the private sphere:

    Because the family is a microcosm of society, the prevalence of violence in a particular society is invariably linked to high levels of domestic violence. Therefore, an understanding of violence in the home lends itself to a broader grasp of violence in the wider societal context. According to Cynthia Enloe, social workers who address issues of domestic violence "agree that military service is probably more conducive to violence at home than at any other 3occupation". A recent essay in States of Conflict: Gender, Violence and Resistance (2000) revealed that Canadians shelter workers encountered cases of husbands dressing in uniform before abusing their partners during the Gulf War. The connection between intimate partner violence and military service becomes painfully obvious when analyzing soldiers and men with past military experience.

    The media present state violence as something that exists in the public sphere disconnected from domestic violence. Those with the power to mold the consciousness of the masses carefully obscure the impact of that socially organized public violence has on women, on the rape rates, and on the abuse women suffer in all sectors of society.

    Public discourse is careful to avoid making the connection between public and private violence. The silencing of dissidents in this time of militant patriotism has provided the state with an immense power to promote their militaristic, sexist, and capitalist agenda. Military objectives are presented as national objectives. The political agenda of the U.S. strongly reflects the nation's leader's stakes in imperialistic ventures in the developing world. Brute force and indiscriminate violence is used to subjugate the less powerful countries. Liberating women has by no means been a national priority. The public must recognize the government's prioritizing of militarization over humanitarianism only benefits the (male) elite. Now is the

     2 Goodwin and Neuwirth, New York Times 10-19-01 3 Does Khaki Become You? 1983, 87

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    ndReport of the AMI to the 3 meeting of the OIC-Working-group “Violence against women”

    in Rome, 20th Sept. 2003: “Violence as a wartime and as a power weapon”

    time to be especially attentive to women's rights. It will prove to be a difficult time for women to speak out about domestic violence, rape (particularly within the military), and other forms of assault in our country's nationalistic and patriotic atmosphere. Many women may not feel their issues are of importance in this time of international conflict. Women in both the US and Afghanistan must have a voice in the rebuilding of Afghanistan, the conflict resolution process, and in the state's response to the international terrorism if we are even to begin dismantling the structural roots of patriarchy, sexism, and misogyny.

    J. Schroefl 3

    ndReport of the AMI to the 3 meeting of the OIC-Working-group “Violence against women”

    in Rome, 20th Sept. 2003: “Violence as a wartime and as a power weapon”

     After the school break, my mom asked me if I wanted to go back to school. I said no. I didn't want to go. All the people who I thought were my friends had turned against me. And they [the rapists] were still there [at school].”

    W.H., age 13, gang-raped by boys from her school, quoted in Human Rights Watch report “Scared at

    School”: Sexual Violence against Girls in South African Schools.

    2. Meaningful examples of cases/stories/experiences

2.1. General

    Millions of women throughout the world live in conditions of abject deprivation of, and attacks against, their fundamental human rights for no other reason than that they are women. Combatants and their sympathizers in conflicts, such as those in Sierra Leone, Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, and Rwanda, have raped women as a weapon of war with near complete impunity. Men in Pakistan, South Africa, Peru, Russia, and Uzbekistan beat women in the home at astounding rates, while these governments alternatively refuse to intervene to protect women and punish their barterers or do so haphazardly and in ways that make women feel culpable for the violence. As a direct result of inequalities found in their countries of origin, women from Ukraine, Moldova, Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, Burma, and Thailand are bought and sold, trafficked to work in forced prostitution, with insufficient government attention to protect their rights and punish the traffickers. In Guatemala, South Africa, and Mexico, women's ability to enter and remain in the work force is obstructed by private employers who use women's reproductive status to exclude them from work and by discriminatory employment laws or discriminatory enforcement of the law. In the U.S., students discriminate against and attack girls in school who are lesbian, bi-sexual, or transgendered, or do not conform to male standards of female behaviour. Women in Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia face government-sponsored discrimination that renders them unequal before the law - including discriminatory family codes that take away women's legal authority and place it in the hands of male family members - and restricts women's participation in public life.

    Abuses against women are relentless, systematic, and widely tolerated, if not explicitly condoned. Violence and discrimination against women are global social epidemics, notwithstanding the very real progress of the international women's human rights movement in identifying, raising awareness about, and challenging impunity for women's human rights violations.

    We live in a world in which women do not have basic control over what happens to their bodies. Millions of women and girls are forced to marry and have sex with men they do not desire. Women are unable to depend on the government to protect them from physical violence in the home, with sometimes fatal consequences, including increased risk of HIV/AIDS infection. Women in state custody face sexual assault by their jailers. Women are punished for having sex outside of marriage or with a person of their choosing (rather than of their family's choosing). Husbands and other male family members obstruct or dictate women's access to reproductive health care. Doctors and government officials J. Schroefl 4

    nd meeting of the OIC-Working-group “Violence against women” Report of the AMI to the 3

    in Rome, 20th Sept. 2003: “Violence as a wartime and as a power weapon”

    disproportionately target women from disadvantaged or marginalized communities for coercive family planning policies.

    Our duty as activists is to expose and denounce as human rights violations those practices and policies that silence and subordinate women. We reject any law, culture, or religion in which women are systematically discriminated against, excluded from political participation and public life, segregated in their daily lives, raped in armed conflict, beaten in their homes, denied equal divorce or inheritance rights, killed for having sex, forced to marry, assaulted for not conforming to gender norms, and sold into forced labor. Arguments that sustain and excuse these human rights abuses - those of cultural norms, "appropriate" rights for women, or western imperialism - barely disguise their true meaning: that women's lives matter less than men's. Cultural relativism, which argues that there are no universal human rights and that rights are culture-specific and culturally determined, is still a formidable and corrosive challenge to women's rights to equality and dignity in all facets of their lives. The Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch fights against the dehumanization and marginalization of women. We promote women's equal rights and human dignity. The realization of women's rights is a global struggle based on universal human rights and the rule of law. It requires all of us to unite in solidarity to end traditions, practices, and laws that harm women. It is a fight for freedom to be fully and completely human and equal without apology or permission. Ultimately, the struggle for women's human rights must be about making women's lives matter everywhere all the time. In practice, this means taking action to stop discrimination and violence against women.

    2.2. Sexual Violence

    Women everywhere are sexually assaulted, and their

    attackers enjoy impunity. Sexual violence against women

    happens at an alarming rate, in times of peace and during

    armed conflict. Often, women are silenced by the stigma

    attached to sexual violence, but increasingly they are

    speaking out and demanding accountability for these crimes.

    Police and other law enforcement authorities are quick to

    dismiss rape and other forms of sexual violence as A woman receives psychological and unimportant crimes provoked by the victims themselves. medical treatment in a clinic to assist Under international law, governments have a duty to rape victims in Freetown. In January respond effectively to violence against women, including 1999, she was gang-raped by seven

    rebels in her village in northern Sierra rape.

    Leone. After raping her, the rebels tied her down and placed burning charcoal Human Rights Watch has found that the Russian on her body. ? 1999 Corinne government officials reject complaints from victims, refuse Dufka/Human Rights Watch to investigate rape, neglect to refer victims to forensic

    doctors for evidence collection, and drop cases when they believe the victim is “at fault.”

    Similarly, in Pakistan, women who attempt to file rape charges face police harassment and disbelief, and may themselves face arrest and prosecution for engaging in extramarital sex. Women in India face daunting obstacles in prosecuting rape cases, beginning with lodging reports with the local police to confronting judges’ insensitivity to their plight. If an Indian woman is poor, belongs to a lower caste, or lives in a rural area, it is even more difficult for her to access the justice system.

J. Schroefl 5

    ndReport of the AMI to the 3 meeting of the OIC-Working-group “Violence against women”

    in Rome, 20th Sept. 2003: “Violence as a wartime and as a power weapon”

2.3. Women and Armed Conflict; International Justice

    In armed conflicts raging around the globe, soldiers and

    paramilitaries terrorize women with rape, sexual and other

    physical violence, and harassment. These tactics are tools of

    war, instruments of terror designed to hurt and punish

    women, wrench communities apart, and force women and

    girls to flee their homes. Women in the Democratic

    Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Kosovo and

     Bosnia and Herzegowina have reported brutal rapes, sexual Chechen women at the funeral of two assaults, sexual slavery, and mutilation committed by male sisters who were killed and whose combatants. In some cases, perpetrators first raped then bodies were burned in Chechnya. A third

    sister carried their remains across the killed their victims. Those who survived the attacks suffered

    border for burial. Ingushetia, 2000. ? from psychological trauma, permanent physical injury, and 2000 Peter Bouckaert/Human Rights long-term health risks, especially HIV/AIDS. Watch

    Often, the end of war does not signal the end of violations against women. In the post-conflict period, many women confront discrimination in reconstruction programs, sexual and domestic violence in refugee camps, and violence when they attempt to return to their homes. In Afghanistan, women of all ethnicities have been compelled to restrict their participation in public life even after the fall of the Taliban to avoid being targets of violence by armed factions and those seeking to enforce repressive Taliban-era edicts. Afghan women, especially outside of Kabul, continue to face serious threats to their physical safety, denying them the opportunity to exercise their basic human rights and to participate fully and effectively in rebuilding their country.

    Until recently, many viewed violence against women as an inevitable, if regrettable, consequence of war. This attitude guaranteed impunity for perpetrators, effectively silencing women who suffered gruesome sexual and physical abuses. The creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and the International Criminal Court hold out some hope that women in war-torn countries might finally gain greater access to justice for crimes of sexual violence. Since 1998, these tribunals have convicted individuals of rape as an instrument of genocide, a form of torture, a war crime, and a crime against humanity.

    The British writer Michael Ignatieff pointed out in an ahistoric, ignorant and misleading form the sexual dimension of warfare changed today allegedly in his book " The Warrior?s Honour": "Teenager with dark glasses and tight-fitting khaki battledresses AK 47 growing up indicates to enter a zone of toxic testosterone to pass a roadblock in Bosnia, where guns around swivel. War always had a sexual dimension for behavior -- a soldiers uniform isn't a guarantee for good manners, however if for a war of growing up irregular is led, a sexual barbarism becomes one of its regular weapons." Perpetrators are the real victims in the one of Biology. Testosterone is not foaming over the reason for force against women. This is an integral and identity-giving part of military actions in many armies.

    Force against women has got provable to one of the "rules of the game" of war and patriarchic history drags itself on to the warfare through millennia as a means independently of nationality, region, culture, ideology. It was already in the antique that the spoils "belong" to J. Schroefl 6

    ndReport of the AMI to the 3 meeting of the OIC-Working-group “Violence against women”

    in Rome, 20th Sept. 2003: “Violence as a wartime and as a power weapon”

    the winner. Greek, Persians, Romans conquered women as slaves and concubines. The right of disposal over woman bodies as a war pay was a lure at the recruiting of mercenaries -- the privilege stood into the common mercenary to violate and loot. Rapes were just concomitant in the French religious wars as well as in the Hundred Years' War between France and England. The German troops celebrated in 1914 rape orgies in Belgium and France. U.S. soldiers raped in Vietnam as well as involved soldiers in the wars of liberation in Africa. The perpetrators send the message: "You don't exist as a person and as a human beeing." A rule of the warrior in the masculine communication is: Raping the wife of the enemy. It intimidates the opponent with his deed and his victim is demoralized -- the violation of the woman by the winner destroys all illusions of power and possession still remained among the inferior men. The winner makes sure of his own power and satisfies the feeling to be part of the "true men". If no wives of the enemy are just available, women of any nationality serve as victims of the warrior. Mass rapes of women are not only actions of senseless brutality but also as culture destructive act with strategic meaning. This doesn?t mean automatically, that every soldier rapes, for sure.

2.4. Mass rapes

    One of the most brutal modern mass rapes committed the Japanese army 1937 at the taking of Nanking which arrived to the contemporary press as the "rape of Nanking." German Armed forces and SS raped systematically women in the conquered areas. Soldiers of the red army raped about two million women in Poland and Eastern Germany. During the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait 1990 Iraqi soldiers tormented and raped women of all age groups. The examples can be continued arbitrarily for Africa, Asia (Burma, Indonesia) or also Kurdistan in the presence.

    Several hundred thousand women have been raped, not only from the Bosnian Serbs but by all involved parties in Croatia and Bosnia during the war, many of them were murdered. The systematic rape of women and kidnapping of girls is also part of the war strategy of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) under Joseph Kony in Uganda. At the age of 13 years the girls are compulsion married to elder male soldiers, rewarded through this for military performances and are regarded as their property. The possession of women, polygamy and the exclusive disposal right of a husband over his wife are succeeded brutally within the LRA. With an increasing military rank the number of "wives" also increases.

    Notorious is also the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone which kidnapped since 1991 thousands of children and recruited them as soldiers since the beginning of the civil war. As example, when Kadiatu (a girl in sierra Leone) was 13 years old, her family has been murdered, and the girl has been carried off as war spoil. She became property of a rebel in the evening of the arrival in the camp. Others pounced upon her occasionally, too. Her history became known since it can be looked behind psychologically in the context of a UNICEF project. About 5,000 boys and girls as child soldiers are murdering in this country at the present. Partly, they are already trained for killing with six, seven years. But, - generally can be constated, that these behaviour pattern cannot (or almost not) be stated 4. in democratic armies

     4 R. Keohane: Politics among Nations, S. 44 ff.

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    ndReport of the AMI to the 3 meeting of the OIC-Working-group “Violence against women”

    in Rome, 20th Sept. 2003: “Violence as a wartime and as a power weapon”

    3. European and world statistical data

    No serious material or statistics available

4. Selected Bibliography on “Violence Against Women” in Wartimes

    Khadija Alia Bah. "Rural Women and Girls in the War in Sierra Leone." Occasional Paper. Conciliation Resources. March 2000.

    Rebecca Cook, ed. Human Rights of Women: National and International Perspectives.

    (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994).

    Cynthia Enloe. Bananas, Beaches, and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Relations. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989).

    Cynthia Enloe. "Masculinity As Foreign Policy ." Foreign Policy In Focus. 36 (Oct. 2000).

    "Gender and Conflict in Sierra Leone." Occasional Paper. Conciliation Resources. September/October 1997.

    The Human Rights Watch Global Report on Women’s Human Rights. (New York: Human

    Rights Watch, 1995).

    International Alert. "Women, Violent Conflict and Peacebuilding: Global Perspectives." International Conference, London, May 5-7, 1999.

    Susan McKay. "The Effects of Armed Conflict on Girls and Women." Peace and Conflict:

    Journal of Peace Psychology 4 (4 1998): 381-92.

    Susan McKay and Dyan Mazurana. "Girls in Militaries, Paramilitaries, and Armed Opposition

    Groups." 2000.

    Mary K. Meyer and Elisabeth Prugl. Global Gender Issues. (Lanham, MD: Rowman and

    Littlefield, 1999).

    Carolyn Nordstrom. Girls in War Zones: Troubling Questions. Uppsala, Sweden: Life and

    Peace Institute. 1997.

    Julie Peters and Andrea Wolper, eds., Women's Rights/Human Rights: International Feminist Perspectives. (New York: Routledge, 1995).

    V. Spike Peterson and Anne Sission Runyan. Global Gender Issues. (Westview, 1999).

    Jan Jindy Pettman. Worlding Women: A Feminist International Politics. (New York:

    Routledge, 1996).

    Rights of Women: A Guide to the Most Important United Nations Treaties for Women's Human Rights. (New York: International Women's Tribune Center, 1998). J. Schroefl 8

    ndReport of the AMI to the 3 meeting of the OIC-Working-group “Violence against women”

    in Rome, 20th Sept. 2003: “Violence as a wartime and as a power weapon” Allison Sack. "Female Circumcision: A Critical Reappraisal". Human Rights Quarterly 10 (1998): 437-86.

    J. Ann Tickner. Gender in International Relations. (New York: Columbia University Press,


    U.S. Department of Justice. "Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of

    Violence Against Women." November 2000. Vesna Nikolic-Ristanovic. "War and Violence Against Women." in Jennifer Turpin and Lois

    Ann Lorentzen, eds. The Gendered New World Order: Militarism, Development, and the

    Environment. (New York: Routledge, 1996): 195-210.

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