Genocide and Gender: The Use of Women and Group Destiny

TitleGenocide and Gender: The Use of Women and Group Destiny
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsFein, Helen
JournalJournal of Genocide Research
Date Published03/1999

Gender and sex are linked to population and group survival through socialization, marriage and family patterns, and reproduction. Reproduction serves to continue the group: genocide to destroy it. Thus, perpetrators of genocide must either annul reproduction within the group or appropriate the progeny in order to destroy the group in the long run. This implies several questions: What determines whether women are allowed to live and whether their reproduction is appropriated or forbidden? And how are patterns of sexual abuse of females and males during war and genocide related? In this article, the author focuses on both questions, noting several historic and hypothetical possibilities and observing the frequency of rape of women in modern, pre-modern, and prehistoric war. This article ultimately explores how sexual assault is instrumental in appropriating the reproduction of a group and asks: when do rape and rituals of degradation become acts of genocide as well as war crimes?

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