Women and Genocide: Survivors, Victims, Perpetrators

Women and Genocide: Survivors, Victims, Perpetrators

Women and Genocide: Survivors, Victims, Perpetrators

Women and Genocide: Survivors, Victims, Perpetrators

Synopsis

The genocides of modern history-Rwanda, Armenia, Guatemala, the Holocaust, and countless others-and their effects have been well documented, but how do the experiences of female victims and perpetrators differ from those of men? In Women and Genocide, human rights advocates and scholars come together to argue that the memory of trauma is gendered and that women's voices and perspectives are key to our understanding of the dynamics that emerge in the context of genocidal violence. The contributors of this volume examine how women consistently are targets for the sexualized violence that serves as an instrument of ethnic cleansing, how female perpetrators take advantage of the new power structures, and how women are involved in the struggle for justice in post-genocidal contexts. By placing women at center stage, Women and Genocide helps us to better understand the nexus existing between misogyny and violence in societies where genocide erupts.

Excerpt

Some of the genocides described in this book will be familiar to readers, while others will be relatively unfamiliar stories. But even the most familiar stories will appear unfamiliar for most readers because of their emphasis on women. Conventional narratives have not pointed out, or in some cases even mentioned, the separate ways in which women have functioned during genocidal actions, either as actors or as victims. in some of the instances of genocide discussed in this book, women were among the perpetrators. But women were primarily victims of genocide, and were subjected to gender-specific treatment which often was sexually violent and particularly brutal. the master narratives have focused on the horrors of the mass murders of marginalized groups, but what the chapters in this book bring to light is the way women were specifically targeted during many genocides. in some instances, the sexual maltreatment was a deliberate and often official strategy of the perpetrators as a way of exterminating a culture and an ethnicity. a mass assault on women’s reproductive abilities was seen as an effective means of destroying a people, their culture, and their posterity.

That women were specifically targeted in so many of the genocides suggests that there is a significant thread of misogyny underlying the actions. One explanation for gender-specific violence is that in all cultures there has existed—and continues to exist—a hostility toward females, ranging from the brutality witnessed in genocides, to the hostility that today manifests itself on the internet and in social media, which abound with violent sexual insults and threats directed at women. of course, cyberattacks are not only . . .

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