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Rape: Weapon of War and Genocide

Rape: Weapon of War and Genocide



Date Available


Edited book , Index , Notes , Bibliography
$21.95 (21.95)

Genocide studies experts Rittner and Roth (co-editors of Different Voices: Women and the Holocaust) have assembled a tool kit for activists and an informative alarm for general readers with this collection of original essays by distinguished genocide scholars. An effective and affecting immediacy is achieved as each writer uses a particular document (interview, personal letter, trial transcript, formal report) as a point of departure, and many chapters include thought-provoking discussion questions and pertinent suggested readings. From various professional perspectives, the writers reveal that “rape-as-policy—intentional and systematic uses of rape as a weapon of war and genocide—has loomed larger and larger.” Essays convey the horrors experienced by Jewish victims of Nazi genocide, victims of ethnic cleansing in the Bosnian War, Guatemalan victims of femicide, and Tutsi victims of all three. Others analyze rape as a tool of “othering” (“the obliteration of a common ground between perpetrators and victims”), assess films treating war and genocide, and consider the development of laws that have the power to protect and to punish. “Rape,” as one writer observes, in this grim book, “is a sadly effective weapon of war.” That this is a painful book to read should not prevent it from being read. (Sept.) Publisher's Weekly, Reviewed on: 05/21/2012

This is a comparative study in the genocide-studies literature of sexual violence as a genocidal weapon. With its global reach and detail, I doubt it will be surpassed for a long time. It is also one of the most nuanced, illuminating, and grimly engaging volumes on rape and mass violence yet published. The authors and editors frequently foreground the individual victims and survivors of these perhaps most intimate atrocities, and their critical framing of sometimes barely-imaginable experiences always resonates. The useful introduction and the discussion questions at the end of each chapter make Rape: Weapon of War and Genocide additionally valuable for university courses in genocide studies, gender studies, and international law. —Adam Jones, Executive Director, Gendercide Watch, Author, Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction

This book’s 13 short chapters are designed for students but of urgent importance to anyone who cares about the ravages of sexual violence and war. Experts in law, history, philosophy, and women’s studies join therapists and activists to present the issues and analyze key documents, many of them accounts from victims of rape, from the Holocaust, Rwanda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and elsewhere. Relentless and unflinching, those accounts speak of despair and hope, resilience, pain, shame, and loss. Resist the urge to put this book down. It offers few answers but calls us to listen to the living and the dead, to their words and their silence.—Doris L. Bergen Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor of Holocaust Studies, University of Toronto Author, War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust

Carol Rittner and John K. Roth have brought together a range of very powerful contributions on rape in war and genocide, which form an exceptional textbook for anyone coming to this terrible subject for the first time. Each chapter deals very personally with the agony of rape and the challenges it poses to male behavior, international law, and political action. The book is a memorial to female suffering and a deep challenge to all men to abandon forever the kind of masculinity that perpetrates such wickedness.— Hugo Slim Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Ethics, Law, and Armed Conflict, University of Oxford Author, Killing Civilians: Method, Madness and Morality in War

Here is a volume that cries out to be read by everyone. It is filled with “texts of terror” that must be heard if the human community is truly to respond “Never again!” All of us are implicated in the terrors of inhumanity to humans; all of us are called to mend the wounds of human history. These stories in this book will not produce despair, but clarity—about action, love, and hope for the human spirit. —Margaret A. Farley Gilbert L. Stark Professor Emerita of Christian Ethics