The Female Body as Political Body: Rape, War and the Nation

TitleThe Female Body as Political Body: Rape, War and the Nation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsSeifert, Ruth
JournalDifesa Sociale
Date Published2007

What are the causes of rape? Is it an act of social supremacy, an instrument of war or an uncontrollable sexual “need”? The author of this article examines the subject from a typically scientific standpoint and offers a range of theories that try to explain this phenomenon. The scientific community agrees upon the fact that rape is an act of violence that gains cultural and national functions. The body of a woman is the symbol of a nation at war that is violated by enemy soldiers. The article concentrates its attention mainly on war and mass rapes, when military action determines the atrocity of physical violence. Cultural factors, in this context, identify victims and persecutors as the prototypes of nations in conflict; physical and psychological mutilations (as rape can be defined) are the evident act of annihilation of the other, a convincing demonstration of the power of violence. Rape, similarly to torture, erases the language and the culture of the victim at a symbolic level.

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