Why Rape Is Used As A Weapon Of War

Throughout history, men have made wars, but women and children have remained the worst sufferers at all times.

Trigger Warning: This speaks of rape and violence against women, and may be triggering to survivors.

Multiple conflicts are going on all over the world at present. Besides various historical and political justifications, violation of human rights is the biggest issue that is often being overlooked. It majorly and severely affects those who are the innocent, poor and helpless.

There is no ethnic or territorial issue more important than that of people’s lives. And as for the issues of war victims, women and children have remained the worst sufferers at all times. Men are believed to be the one engaging in warfare and hence, the ones left behind, i.e., women and their children are considered powerless and therefore, they can be used as victims to take revenge upon the enemy group.

Rape has been a weapon of war since ancient times

Women’s reproductive rights are often violated by soldiers and military groups. Besides sexual desire, there is a major ground for doing this. They forcefully engage in sexual activities and impregnate women to justify their superiority over not only them but their entire community.

Rape has also been used as a mechanism of ethnic cleansing as it would give birth to babies with the genes of those men that they consider superior. To be more horrific, often rape led to several women contact HIV that becomes a life-threatening thing for them that caused death.

In this entire process, a woman is seen not as an individual but as an object.

Ethnic cleansing, psychological warfare

Raping a woman directly affects the entire community or society in which they belong to because it is related to honour. Many of these women are not accepted in the society because it is considered shameful or disgraceful. Often, family members kill a girl who is raped or marry her off to her rapist in order to preserve family prestige.

Therefore, rape is a form of psychological warfare that is used to terrorise the entire population. Besides rape, war and refugee situation also leads to miscarriages and forceful abortions leading to increase in infant and maternal mortality rate. Sexual slavery, forced prostitution and genital mutilation has also been practiced to showcase the ugliest nature of war and refugee.

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Can the International community do anything about it?

International Humanitarian Laws have definitely brought up the issue but no where it is seen to be followed.

Both the world wars saw sexual exploitation as a major form of revenge. Partition of India, Bangladesh Liberation war etc. are the examples from Indian context where large scale sexual violence was witnessed.

Long back, in 1993, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights declared systematic rape as a crime against humanity. But till today, in all the conflicts going on in the entire globe, including Russia-Ukraine, Israel-Palestine etc. rape is still seen as a full-fledged weapon of warfare. Hence, it is a silenced crime that will have terrible long lasting effects on the entire mankind.

Image source: pixabay

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About the Author

Lahari Bandyopadhyay

I'm a post graduating student majoring in Political Science, who aspires to be a research scholar. My areas of interest are peace and conflict studies, gender and human rights. read more...

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