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Ideologies of Forgetting

Rape in the Vietnam War

Gina Marie Weaver

Publication Year: 2010

First book to study rape and sexual abuse of Vietnamese women by U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam War. Rape has long been a part of war, and recent conflicts in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur demonstrate that it may be becoming an even more integral strategy of modern warfare. In contrast to the media attention to sexual violence against women in these recent conflicts, however, the incidence and consequences of rape in the Vietnam War have been largely overlooked. Using testimony, oral accounts, literature, and film, Ideologies of Forgetting focuses on the rape and sexual abuse of Vietnamese women by U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam war, and argues that the erasure and elision of these practices of sexual violence in the U.S. popular imagination perpetuates the violent masculinity central to contemporary U.S. military culture. Gina Marie Weaver claims that recognition of this violence is important not just for an accurate historical record, but also to truly understand the Vietnam veteran’s trauma, which often stems from his aggression rather than his victimization. Gina Marie Weaver is Assistant Professor of English at Southern Nazarene University.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Feminist Criticism and Theory


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Title Page

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p. ix

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Preface: A Postwar Look at Vietnam

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pp. xi-xvii

While searching for a dissertation topic in 2004 and having recently become fascinated by Vietnam War literature, I taught the Literature and Film of the Vietnam War: Nationalism and Identity at Rice University. The course coincided nicely with the presidential elections, and I planned for our critical focus to be on nationalism and the construction of patriotism and masculinity...

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1. Silencing: Erasure of Rape in the Vietnam War

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pp. 1-18

Before we can understand the role rape played in the Vietnam War or the reasons and means by which it has been erased from narratives of that war, it is helpful to contextualize war rape more generally. Especially important is a recognition of the fact that, after many years of work by feminists, war rape...

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2. Vietnamese Voices: Accounts of War-Time Sexual Trauma

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pp. 19-46

Although this book focuses primarily on the accounts and evidence from American soldiers and records regarding the rape of Vietnamese women, I wish to frame this evidence within the context of the experiences of the women directly affected by these soldiers' actions. Thus, my project begins by forwarding what Vietnamese women themselves have said about ...

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3. “Already Bullets”: American Witnesses to Wartime Rape and Sexual Abuse

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pp. 47-82

Although the stereotype of the Vietnam veteran frequently involves his dysfunctional silence about the war, in reality many veterans spoke very publicly about the worst of their experiences. Often the most traumatizing aspects of their war experience were haunting memories of wanton aggression they or their comrades had committed, especially against ...

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4. Naming Themselves: Sexual Abuse in Vietnam Veterans’ Antiwar Literature

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pp. 83-122

In the last chapter, I analyzed veteran testimony about the rape and sexual abuse of Vietnamese women during the war. This testimony was given during the war and endangered veteran witnesses for several reasons: they testified at legal risk to themselves and their standing within the community; relived painful experiences...

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5. Victimized Veterans and Disappearing Women: The Vietnam War Film

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pp. 123-160

If numerous oral accounts testify to the fact of rape and sexual abuse in the war, and later literary works confirm this testimony and explore the reasons for and the complications of woman abuse, how is it that rape and sexual abuse came to be glossed over and erased from the Vietnam War as it is commonly understood...

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Afterword: Legacies

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pp. 161-168

While the Vietnam War has left varying legacies—physical, geographical destruction in Vietnam; Vietnamese American children; veterans suffering from PTSD; a (short-lived) loss of national bravado—one of the unacknowledged but enduring legacies is the sexual abuse of women by men in the military. While the abuses I have analyzed...


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pp. 169-188


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pp. 189-194


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pp. 195-198

E-ISBN-13: 9781438430003
E-ISBN-10: 1438430000
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438429991
Print-ISBN-10: 1438429991

Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1
Series Title: SUNY series in Feminist Criticism and Theory
Series Editor Byline: Michelle A. Massé See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 593295901
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Ideologies of Forgetting

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Rape as a weapon of war -- Vietnam -- History -- 20th century.
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Atrocities.
  • Rape victims -- Vietnam.
  • Geschichte 1961-1975. -- swd.
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