Crimes of War, Crimes of Peace

TitleCrimes of War, Crimes of Peace
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsMacKinnon, Catharine A.
JournalUCLA Women's Law Journal

Women are violated in many ways that men are not, or rarely are; many of these violations are sexual and reproductive. Ranging from objectification to killing, from dehumanization and defilement to mutilation and torture to sexual murder, this abuse occurs in forms and settings and legal postures that overlap every recognized human rights convention but is addressed, effectively and as such, by none. What most often happens to women escapes the human rights net. Something--jurisdictional, evidentiary, substantive, customary, or habitual--is always wrong with it. Abuses of women as women rarely seem to fit what these laws and their enforcing bodies have in mind; the more abuses there are, the more they do not fit. Whether in war or in what is called peacetime, at home or abroad, in private or in public, by our side or the other side, man's inhumanity to woman is ignored. Women's absence shapes human rights in substance and in form, effectively defining what a human and a right are. This article examines the question: what does it mean to recognize a principle called human rights that does not really apply to the systemic and systematic violations of the dignity and integrity and security and life of over half the human race? 

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