“Why are You doing this to Me?” Identity, Positionality, Power and Sexual Violence in War

Title“Why are You doing this to Me?” Identity, Positionality, Power and Sexual Violence in War
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsCockburn, Cynthia
EditorJónasdóttir, Anna G., Valerie Bryson, and Kathleen B. Jones
Book TitleSexuality, Gender and Power: Intersectional and Transnational Perspectives
Pagination189-205
PublisherRoutledge
CityNew York
Abstract

In one report of a particular moment in the Vietnam war, men were standing in line for their turn to rape a young Vietnamese woman. One of the men later reported that she spoke to him, in English, and asked him ‘Why are you doing this to me?’ In thousands of similar instances reported in studies of rape in war, the woman has no recognizable character, she is silent. But here she takes the foreground, and she startles me, as she no doubt startled the men standing around her, by manifesting a sense of who she is, who her rapists are and whom they may see her as being. ‘Why are you doing this to me? Hey…why are you doing this to me?’

Reading the by-now extensive literature on rape and other atrocities of war leaves me with a sense of voicelessness, the feeling that everything is being said, has been said, that nothing more can be said, and nothing will change whatever we say. But that young woman in Vietnam asked a question. I feel we owe her an answer. [Excerpt]

URLhttp://www.oru.se/PageFiles/5806/GEXcel%20Work%20In%20Progress%20Vol%20II.pdf#page=37
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