Variations in Forms of Sexual Violence: A Comparative Analysis of Bosnia and Rwanda

Rafstedt, My

Sexual violence during the Bosnian War (1992-1995) and the Rwandan genocide (1994) has been analyzed thoroughly, but limited attention has been paid to how sexual violence differed in these two conflicts and why. This will be investigated by doing a comparative analysis. Kirby’s modes of feminist analysis will be used as framework, and attention will be paid to the relationship between the construction of ethnic and gender identities and particular forms of sexual violence. It will be demonstrated that forced impregnation characterized Bosnian sexual violence, whilst mutilation of female body parts and murder after rape were prominent in Rwanda. I argue that this can be explained by looking at how these forms of sexual violence were the result of mythology and shared beliefs and were being used by ethnic leaders to re-construct ethnic and gender identities to serve their own political objectives. Because these myths, identity constructions and leader objectives were different in Bosnia and Rwanda, the forms of sexual violence were as well.

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The Journal of Politics and Society

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Helvidius Group
Helvidius Group of Columbia University
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April 26, 2016