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Monday, 12 December 2011



Verkragting is meer as net misdaad. Dis iets wat al in baie oorloƫ as wapen aangewend is.

War rape
War rape describes rape committed by soldiers, other combatants or civilians during armed conflict or war. During war and armed conflict rape is frequently used as means of psychological warfare in order to humiliate the enemy and undermine their morale. War rape is often systematic and thorough, and military leaders may actually encourage their soldiers to rape civilians. War rape may occur in a variety of situations, including institutionalised sexual slavery, war rapes associated with specific battles or massacres, and individual or isolated acts of sexual violence. War rape may also include gang rape and rape with objects.

When part of a widespread and systematic practice, rape and sexual slavery are now recognised as crimes against humanity and war crimes. Rape is also now recognised as an element of the crime of genocide when committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a targeted group. However, rape remains widespread in conflict zones.
How did rape become a weapon of war?
The strategic use of rape in war is not a new phenomenon but only recently has it begun to be documented, chiefly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia and Sudan, said Ms Sahgal.

And even after conflicts are resolved, few countries seem willing to tackle what is often seen as a crime against individual women rather than a strategy of war.

In many nations the collapse of the rule of law leaves them unable to deal with allegations of rape, while in others women feel too exposed to stigma to accuse their attackers.

International courts have tackled some cases in Bosnia, where Muslim women were forced into sexual slavery in the town of Foca in the 1990s, and in Rwanda, but the vast majority of perpetrators act with impunity.
Sexual violence as a weapon of war
Sexual violation of women erodes the fabric of a community in a way that few weapons can. Rape's damage can be devastating because of the strong communal reaction to the violation and pain stamped on entire families. The harm inflicted in such cases on a woman by a rapist is an attack on her family and culture, as in many societies women are viewed as repositories of a community's cultural and spiritual values.

In addition to rape, girls and women are also subject to forced prostitution and trafficking during times of war, sometimes with the complicity of governments and military authorities. During World War II, women were abducted, imprisoned and forced to satisfy the sexual needs of occupying forces, and many Asian women were also involved in prostitution during the Viet Nam war. The trend continues in today's conflicts.

The State of the World's Children 1996 report notes that the disintegration of families in times of war leaves women and girls especially vulnerable to violence. Nearly 80 per cent of the 53 million people uprooted by wars today are women and children. When fathers, husbands, brothers and sons are drawn away to fight, they leave women, the very young and the elderly to fend for themselves. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Myanmar and Somalia, refugee families frequently cite rape or the fear of rape as a key factor in their decisions to seek refuge.
Rape: Weapon of war
Warring groups use rape as a weapon because it destroys communities totally, says Major-General Patrick Cammaert, former commander of UN peacekeeping forces in the eastern Congo. “You destroy communities. You punish the men, and you punish the women, doing it in front of the men.” Adds Cammaert: “It has probably become more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in armed conflict.”

Rape has been a dishonourable camp follower of war for as long as armies have marched into battle. In the 20th century, perceptions of rape in war have moved from something that is inevitable when men are deprived of female companionship for prolonged periods to an actual tactic in conflict. The lasting psychological harm that rape inflicts on its victims has also been recognized: Rape is always torture, says Manfred Nowak, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The Croatian author Slavenka Drakulic, who has written extensively about war crimes in the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s, and whose latest book is on the war crimes trials in The Hague, says the Security Council resolution is historic. “Finally, sexual violence is recognized as a weapon, and can be punished,” she says, adding: “We know now, as we knew even before the passage of this resolution, that rape is a kind of slow murder.”

Rape: weapon of war in Bosnia

No-one will ever know the exact number of women and girls raped during the conflict in former Yugoslavia. But Herak’s accounts of his forced participation in rapes of Bosnian Muslim women – his commander had told him it was ‘good for morale’ – accord with evidence recounted to human-rights observers and journalists throughout the region. Though all figures must be treated with caution in a war so plagued by propaganda, these witnesses tell of the organized and systematic rape of at least 20,000 women and girls by the Serbian military and the murder of many of the victims. Muslim and Croatian – as well as some Serbian – women are being raped in their homes, in schools, police stations and camps all over the country.

The sexual abuse of women in war is nothing new. Rape has long been tolerated as one of the spoils of war, an inevitable feature of military conflict like pillage and looting. What is new about the situation in Bosnia is the attention it is receiving – and the recognition that it is being used as a deliberate military tactic to speed up the process of ‘ethnic cleansing’. According to a recent report by European Community investigators, rapes are being committed in ‘particularly sadistic ways to inflict maximum humiliation on victims, their families, and on the whole community’. In many cases the intention is ‘deliberately to make women pregnant and to detain them until pregnancy is far enough advanced to make termination impossible’. Women and girls aged anything between 6 and 70 are being held in camps throughout the country and raped repeatedly by gangs of soldiers. Often brothers or fathers of these women are forced to rape them as well. If they refuse, they are killed.
Sudanese wield rape as a weapon of war
Most of these women have been raped by Janjaweed soldiers, some by several men at a time.

Human Rights Watch estimates thousands of black women and girls have been systematically raped in the last three years.

"Often, women are scarred," says Eric Reeves, a Sudan analyst at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. "They have tendons cut, so as to mark them as having been raped. And, thus, unsuitable as brides and compromised as mothers and wives."
Rape used as weapon in DR Congo
"Different statistics are coming up in different parts of the eastern DRC all the time. One commonly used statistic is that there are about 400 rapes a day."

Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow, reporting from Goma, said there were growing fears that the use of rape was turning into a norm in the DR Congo conflict.

"Rape has been used by all armed groups as a weapon that is more readily available than bullets and bombs.

"In many cases the social stigma associated with rape leaves the survivors shunned by husbands, parents and their communities," he said.

The fighting in the eastern DRC between UN-backed Congolese government forces and Rwandan Hutu rebels have worsened in recent months.

The country hosts one of the biggest UN aid operations. Hundreds of thousands of people in the east of the country have been driven from their homes due to fighting, many of whom need protection from violent attacks.