The Impact War Rape Has On Development Sociology Essay Example
The Impact War Rape Has On Development Sociology Essay Example

The Impact War Rape Has On Development Sociology Essay Example

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  • Pages: 7 (1882 words)
  • Published: August 16, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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In 2008, the UN Security Council declared in security declaration 1820 that using sexual force as a war tactic is prohibited. This essay argues that rape during war must be analyzed within the larger context of gendered conflict's effects on development. The paper reviews instances of gendered conflict and factors that moderate rape during war, such as the nature of the conflict and society where it is occurring. Without considering these elements, it is impossible to fully understand or address the impact of war rape on development. War rape has become an accepted strategy of warfare and targeted terror attack. It is an asymmetric warfare tactic wherein enemy forces assault female civilians to cause harm and destroy family ties, group solidarity, and community identity. Integrating war rape into cultural purging aims to eliminate cultural stock by changing women from cherished objects to abject


members of communities. Women play a significant role in preserving cultural and nationalist boundaries, ensuring their civilization's purity and honor by maintaining control over their bodies and genders.The utilization of war rape is not limited to attacking male territory. Rather, it is a tactic used to achieve political objectives such as cultural purging and genocidal goals through "genetic imperialism" (Farwell, 2004:395). This form of violence devastates communities by eroding their solidarity, cultural identity, pride, morale and sense of belonging (Farwell, 2004), leading to cultural collapse. It is important to consider the impact of society on how victims perceive themselves following an assault. Although physical harm may be inflicted on a woman's body leaving indelible scars, the communal nature of humiliation cannot be overlooked. After being raped, the victim may face rejection from

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her peers and community thereby suffering twice - first from the attack itself and secondly due to disapproval from patriarchal society. When evaluating the effects of conflict on women in particular, traditional gender roles play a significant role. Men are expected to bravely engage in warfare while protecting their female counterparts and preserving civilization with women seen as embodying the essence and spirit of their community as 'mothers'ofthe state'. As a result,women's reproductive capabilities are often exaggerated throughout wartime actionsMilitant leaders have frequently abducted women and young girls for internal servitude and sexual gratification within liberation armies. In Uganda, the Lord's Resistance Army took many boys and girls as child soldiers (Pickup et al., 2001). Abducted youth are often assimilated into households during war or conflict, with boys trained to become more masculine through fighting while girls are forced into marriage and sexual services for their husbands. This can lead to young girls being moved among group members and serving multiple men as wives. Conflict deeply affects society by altering attitudes, values, and cultural symbols (Enloe, 1993, as cited in Pickup et al., 2001), causing upheaval at all levels of society. Intimate partner violence is a significant risk for women during and after conflict when penalties for violence may be weakened while their social and economic exposure increases. Mobilization effects can persist post-conflict affecting the dynamic between men and women.According to Pickup et al. (2001), men's learned responses to survive during conflicts may contribute to domestic violence in certain societies. During times of war and conflict, intimate partner violence prevalence can be attributed to societal norms influenced by patriarchal structures that legitimize the use of

violence for resolving conflicts. This reinforces hierarchical relations between genders and associates masculinity with violence. Feminists argue that women's bodies are vulnerable to rape during wartime due to the concept of honor tied to them. War-related gender violence is based on pre-existing socio-cultural dynamics and gender relations as per Farwell (2004). In patriarchal societies, attacks against women often target their femininity rather than other aspects like ethnicity or class, threatening their fundamental identity perception as a woman. Refugee women and girls are more susceptible to sexual violence, with research indicating that 26% of Burundi females aged 12-29 have experienced it according to Nduna & Goodyear (1997) cited in Pickup et al.,(2001:83).South African women who testified at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported that security forces targeted areas of female vulnerability during detainment, using physical and gender-specific mental torture like rape, as well as degrading strip searches in front of males. The women were sometimes falsely told that their families had died (Pickup et al., 2001:95). Gender roles and relations prior to conflict heavily influence how men and women experience and cope with conflict, along with intra-gender conflicts. Class, ethnicity, age, and femininity factors are utilized by adult females to access higher levels of security when resources are scarce or competition is high (1996: 20). However, scarcity also affects politics, society, and economics during times of societal separation where no neutral developmental responses exist. As conflicts result in change, resource allocation between genders will affect gender relations either promoting or maintaining the status quo. Donors often neglect in-depth analysis of community needs while relief efforts prioritize urgency.According to Byrne (1996:40), gender considerations may seem like a

luxury that cannot be defended in certain contexts. In order to alleviate the effects of war and rape on rural women in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Rwanda, impersonal actions such as administering preventives or easing abortions may be necessary before interventions can take place (Byrne, 1996). These conflicts have led to significant impacts on gender relations and identities, including displacement and demographic changes. Women in rural Bosnia-Herzegovina relied on social networks and bargaining agreements for access to resources, while post-conflict Rwanda had a predominantly female population with many households headed by women (Bringa, 1995; Human Rights Watch, 1996; Walsh, 2000a:3). Furthermore, these conflicts have resulted in increased dependency within Bosnian society as productive age populations decreased by 10%, shifting economic and domestic roles towards women who are also seeking employment opportunities. However, urban migration is challenging for Rwandan women who are primarily responsible for maintaining domestic resources and household tasks but lack the discernible skills needed for the urban labor market since over 90% of the population resides in rural areas (Walsh, 2000a:3).Women residing in rural communities encounter a disadvantage as they lack the ability to participate in heavier work undertaken by men that generates income for their families. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, rural populations in urban areas struggle to access employment opportunities due to a shortage of necessary skills, leading to competition for government aid and scarce resources such as housing. The vulnerability of younger adult females to procurers and sellers results in a cruel cycle, with communities ostracizing them for entering the sex trade, forcing them to return as a means of survival. Displacement has led to increased domestic violence as traditional conflict resolution methods have dissolved

in Bosnia-Herzegovina, with younger male relatives being the primary perpetrators. Furthermore, displacement and migration from rural to urban areas have caused significant stress within households, particularly for adolescent family members. The healthcare systems severely damaged during the conflicts and genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina are challenged by losses of 50% and 40%, respectively, making it difficult for remaining infrastructure to provide aid or support for primary healthcare needs. (Byrne, 1995:41; Walsh, 2000a:3,4; Medica Zenica, 1999)The shortage of reproductive and gynecological services worsens the situation for women affected by war rape, hindering social development. According to Bosnian NGO Medica Zenica's data in 1997 (in Pickup et al., 2001:99), half of the adult females they assisted had experienced rape, resulting in pregnancy for 30% of them; only 2% did not require further gynecological intervention. In Rwanda conflict, more than 10,000 women were impregnated from rape, with half undergoing abortions and 1,000 continuing with pregnancies (Pickup et al., 2001:3). Many survivors of war rape during Rwandan genocide contracted HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections due to sexual violence prevalence (Farwell, 2004). The lack of resource availability is particularly problematic as many survivors have lost their support networks and must care for either orphans or members of their extended family post-conflict period (Farwell, 2004:398). Women in certain Croat-controlled areas within former Yugoslavia face limited rights and abortion access due to a rise in nationalism after the conflict. As a result, female survivors who became pregnant during the genocide had to carry their pregnancies to term.During and after the conflict, abortion rates tripled in areas where it was previously established as the primary method of contraception. Moreover, reproductive-related tests, check-ups,

and abortions that were once free are now charged for, effectively limiting women's access to healthcare. This is particularly problematic for vulnerable areas where employer healthcare benefits are not available. Conversely, in Rwanda pre-conflict access to healthcare was hindered by the need for payment. Although Rwanda had more condensed healthcare provision compared to other African countries prior to the conflict, men had greater access to cash income and only 10% of births occurred in hospitals which contributed to high maternal mortality rates. Before the conflict UNICEF (1992) noted concerning attitudes towards disadvantaged women seeking reproductive healthcare and abortion services at Rwandan clinics (1992, in Byrne, 1995:43). During the genocide many women refrained from accessing crucial reproductive healthcare services due to community stigma associated with rape survivors' status and the involvement of healthcare personnel in violence.According to Medica Zenica (1997, in Pickup et al., 2001:100), the majority of women seen there have severe psychological issues related to rape. About half have attempted suicide or considered it and most suffer from anxiety and/or depression. In Rwanda, many people have experienced significant psychological trauma due to the genocide, but little attention has been paid to addressing trauma resulting from conflict or systematic rape. Additionally, limited availability of abortion services limits options for women who experience rape pregnancies, leading some to abandon their children or commit infanticide with no acknowledgement of the further harm this causes to their long-term mental health (Byrne, 1995:46). Faculty members use the term "Rape Trauma Syndrome" as a way of acknowledging that the severe psychological impact of rape is comparable to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Pickup et al., 2001:100). However, during conflicts there is

often a focus on immediate physical health goals which can override the importance of evaluating and addressing the psychological effects of rape and recognizing future consequences. While speedy restoration of basic healthcare facilities serves as a foundation for development goals it may detract from addressing these important issues.Opposing forces in times of conflict can shape gender identities, as women's traditional domestic role moves into public domains. Such conflicts have the potential to create societal change or reinforce existing patterns. Understanding struggles that lead to rape is essential when helping war rape victims, with attention paid to gender relations within the affected society. Rape was used as a means of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Rwanda, but the methods used for achieving "genetic imperialism" had varying effects on development. In both countries, colza was employed as a tool of war - in Rwanda it helped spread HIV to eradicate the Tutsi population while in Bosnia-Herzegovina it targeted Muslim women to increase the Serbian population through patrilineal descent. To help communities affected by these atrocities, immediate access to gynecological healthcare and sustained psychological aid for victims are necessary alongside developmental efforts prioritizing this issue for overall well-being. Improving access to abortion facilities and tailored psychological support for women facing pregnancy decisions is also crucial in Bosnia-Herzegovina.It is crucial to address the root causes of patriarchal societies and the impact that contemporary development efforts have on perpetuating gendered social hierarchies in order to effectively tackle rape as a critical issue that requires attention and resolution.

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