Displacement from gendered personhood: sexual violence and masculinities in northern Uganda

TitleDisplacement from gendered personhood: sexual violence and masculinities in northern Uganda
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSchulz, Philipp
JournalInternational Affairs
Volume94
Issue5
Pagination1101 - 1119
Date Published2018/09//
Abstract

This article empirically deconstructs the gendered effects of sexual violence on male survivors' masculinities in northern Uganda. Throughout the growing literature on the topic, the effects of wartime gender-based violence against men are widely seen as compromising male survivors' masculine identities, commonly framed as 'emasculation' by way of 'feminization' and/or 'homo-sexualization'. Yet exactly how such processes unfold from survivors' perspectives remains insufficiently explored, nor has existing scholarship critically engaged with the dominant analytical categories and their associated terminologies. This article seeks to engage with both of these gaps. First, I identify normative and analytical shortcomings of the 'emasculation'/'feminization' paradigm. Drawing on Edström, Dolan and colleagues, I propose an alternative reading to analyse the effects of sexual violence on gender identities. Second, I argue that the impact of sexual violence on masculinities is a layered process, compounded through numerous sexual and gendered harms and perpetuated over time. In northern Uganda, this process is composed of intersecting gendered harms that subordinate male survivors along gendered hierarchies, and that signify survivors' perceived inabilities to provide, protect and procreate—as expected of them by local constructions of hegemonic masculinity. I therefore emphasize that sexual violence against men strikes at multiple levels of what it means to be a man, which is important to understanding and addressing these layered gendered harms in the aftermath of the violations.

Short TitleInternational Affairs