Monday, May 01, 2006

Organized rape as a tactic of war

As I was thinking about what to post, I figured there were plenty of hot topics. The immigrant demonstrations, Iraq, and of course, Dafur. The latter one got me thinking about when I went to university (only in the US do they call going to university 'college' and going to a community college 'college', too confusing..outside of that I think everyone calls it university, anyhow) and we were talking in one poli sci class about the atrocities in the former Yugoslavia. The subject came to raping women. The professor (otherwise a very smart men)basically said that well, you know, it is understandable that these things happen because the men are off to war and they have urges. !! Even some of the young guys (I was early 30s at the time) in class raised their eyebrows. Naturally I had to raise my hand and inform him that rape is an act of aggression in any case, and not merely a sexual act for the sake of relief.

So back to Darfur. When I hear the tv talk about it or read it in the newspaper, it seems so casual to mention the rape. As in, this happens, that happens and women are getting raped. Naturally as a woman who's been lucky to have never experienced rape, I read that and wonder, how does that really happen? How can someone turn into a killing machine and rape women and children? (remember, under 18, they're still children) It is so unimaginable to me, I can't wrap my brain around it.

But it happens. Here are some accounts from Medicins Sans Frontieres;

It happened last August when we were in our farms outside the village. We saw five Arab men who came to us and asked where our husbands were. Then they told us that we should have sex with them. We said no. So they beat and raped us. After they abused us, they told us that now we would have Arab babies; and if they would find any Fur woman, they would rape them again to change the colour of their children.”
Three women, 25, 30 & 40, October 2004, West Darfur

Three women, 25, 30 & 40, October 2004, West Darfur
[Five women, 2 young girls (13 and 14 years old) and 3 older women, went to collect grass for their donkeys. The group got ambushed by three armed men (one was on a camel, one on a horse and the third one on foot)]
“I was taken to the near-by river bed away from the other women. One man took me in one direction. The other man took the other girl. And the third man stayed to guard the camel and the horse. The man who took me told me to sit on the ground. But I refused. He hit me twice on my back with a stick. Then he took out a knife and threatened me by pointing the knife at me. I sat down. And then he told me to take off my underwear. I refused, but he threatened me again with his knife. He pulled his trousers down and raped me. He left without saying anything or even looking at me.”
Young girl, 13, February 2005, South Darfur
“One of the three man took me away from the other women. He threatened me with his knife by pinching my chest with it. He pushed me on the ground and took off my underwear. He raped me and was repeating “I will kill you” all the times to intimidate me.”
Young girl, 14, February 2005, South Darfur

For a full account please read this briefing paper by Medicins Sans Frontieres
from March 8th, 2005.

To see a world as far removed as most of us see it, here it is upclose.

Are men in combat the same as chimpanzees at war?


Blogger tooners said...

These men raping these women are savages. They have no respect for the female race and believe they are entitled to do what they please - if the female resists, he'll have his way w/ her and then kill her. I don't believe they even care really.

I can hardly believe what your Prof. said while you were at the university - sorry guys, but that's such a male mentality - or at least for male chauvinists - I think.

I find it hard to believe that someone would still say something this absurb in this day and age, specifically when rape isn't about sex. But maybe his point was that these men believe this to be true. hmmm...

I like your blog. Good topics here.

3:29 AM  
Blogger le.voyageur said...

goes hand inhand with the half assed conversation over at rp about s.bombing and its place war, hope you dont mind, but i linked to your thread here, seeing as its all in the same "tactic's" topic.

mass rape is as much about terrorising population as it is for individuals to feel powerful over the powerless. i remember an account where family members would swith place swith their neighbours, because armed forces were making fathers rape their daughters, so to avoid this, they switched their daughters with their neghbours daughter, so they wouldnt be further humilated by being made to rape their own offspring.

war gives carte blanche to what are essentially evil people a chance to suspend normal moral, ethical,and social behaviour. in this instance, rape is a much more calous and more effective tactic to enrage, demoralise, and terrorise a populace, as the consequences are longterm.

on NOW on pbs, there was a report sometime back where UN troops were trying to protect refugee camp of women and children, but being grossly outnumbered, then one night simply left, hearing the atrocities behind them that followed. africa, even west where we lived, is a very different place from when we were there. it seems apparent that the global community has simply abandoned an entire continent, sans south. i think there will come a time where even docteurs sans frontiere will fear to tread.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Tooners, you are so right. I think this professor lost some respect from some students who before saw him as a learned person.
Thanks for your compliments too btw. I am trying to find my style and I apparently am drawn to different type of topics. Glad it is interesting to you.

Le Voyageur...isn't it ironic that here we are , at our 'most civilized', in terms of what we know scientifically, and philosophically, and yet, there are still such tribal worlds out there it is hard to fanthom. There is too much war and killings going on and I think for a lot of people, a great feeling of helplessness..what to do what to do.

4:11 PM  

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