Reports from war zones often note the obscene victimization of women, who are frequently raped, tortured, beaten, and pressed into sexual servitude. Yet this reign of terror against women not only occurs during exceptional moments of social collapse, but during peacetime too. As this powerful book argues, violence against women should be understood as a systemic problem—one for which the state must be held accountable.
The twelve essays in Gender Violence in Peace and War present a continuum of cases where the state enables violence against women—from state-sponsored torture to lax prosecution of sexual assault. Some contributors uncover buried histories of state violence against women throughout the twentieth century, in locations as diverse as Ireland, Indonesia, and Guatemala. Others spotlight ongoing struggles to define the state’s role in preventing gendered violence, from domestic abuse policies in the Russian Federation to anti-trafficking laws in the United States.
Bringing together cutting-edge research from political science, history, gender studies, anthropology, and legal studies, this collection offers a comparative analysis of how the state facilitates, legitimates, and perpetuates gender violence worldwide. The contributors also offer vital insights into how states might adequately protect women’s rights in peacetime, as well as how to intervene when a state declares war on its female citizens.