Wartime Rape as a Weapon of Propaganda

TitleWartime Rape as a Weapon of Propaganda
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsGarraio, Júlia
JournalNHUMEP Peace Studies Research Line
Date Published01/2012

Wartime sexual violence was traditionally regarded as a regrettable albeit inevitable byproduct of warfare. The premise that it resulted from the “biological urges” of soldiers was challenged by feminist research that favoured a “cultural approach”: rapes were perceived to be an expression of power relations; militarization was accused of contributing to the production of violent masculinities. This article focuses on the discourses on rapes committed during a given conflict and argues that these discourses can play a strategic role in the conflict itself as well as in the processes of collective memory once it has ended. The case of German women raped in World War II is one of many examples that exhibit the extent to which sexual violence can be used as a weapon of propaganda.

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