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>> 99 6 Securitizing Sex? Rethinking Wartime Sexual Violence “We have girls that had their breast tattooed with RUF. During the war, if you have on your skin anything that entails RUF you will definitely be killed or sent to jail and so it is one of the means that the rebels used for these sex slaves to write on their physical skin RUF because of that the girls will not have any way to escape after they have been kidnapped. We faced so many problems with their behavior and so what we did was include in their curriculum some religious and moral skills because some of them were very hostile and some of them find it very difficult to remarry knowing that they already have children that do not have fathers. Especially for those that have writings on their bodies it is difficult. One of the girls took a hot charcoal mass and placed it on her breast to burn out the writing but it didn’t go.”1 Fatima was a child soldier for the RUF for two years, beginning when she was fourteen. She held a combat role with the rebel forces and admitted to destroying property and abusing drugs. She summarized the process by which she came to be a soldier and her experience with the RUF as follows: “I was abducted and later forced to join their group. I was persistently raped. I was trained to use a weapon. I was forced to go on long-distance treks on foot.” She told reintegration authorities that she was interested in some sort of formal education and being reunited with a parent. The question “Why is rape deemed an effective tool of war?” has not been sufficiently explored and has been limited by traditional conflict and security metaphors. Continuing to focus on Sierra Leone, this chapter will explore dominant approaches to wartime rape and offer a new framework from which to consider why rape is used as a tool of war and why it has been a part of militant strategies through history. Questioning the utility of wartime rape and the possible strategic gains to be had from its use poses various difficult and sensitive challenges; however, examining the strategic 100 > 101 marginalization not only for the victim of the rape but also for her family, including any children to whom she may give birth. The “collateral damages” that stem from rape are all too often conceptualized as social matters rather than as sources of significant insecurity. Exploring gender orders and the widespread impacts of rape also helps demonstrate that there is continuity not only between sexual violence within and outside of war but also between the regulation of sex and the family within and outside of war. In addition to questions of the utility of wartime rape, this chapter explores the implications of ignoring gender hierarchies and failing to see the interconnectedness of the so-called domestic realm, including sex and marriage, to warfare politics and security. Expired notions of the private and public realms in international politics have largely limited traditional and even critical approaches to wartime rape within international relations and security studies. In turn, this chapter utilizes the concept of conjugal order to better understand the relationship between sex, rape, and international politics. This chapter begins with an overview of dominant explanations of wartime rape. Following this, Sierra Leone is presented as a case study that exemplifies the hypothesis that marriage and family law are directly related to the strategic use of wartime rape. This analysis takes an intertextual approach, which weaves together research from program documents and policies related to wartime rape, existing literature on wartime rape, and unstructured interviews with NGO workers, aid staff, and government officials conducted in Sierra Leone in 2005. Research on Wartime Rape Since Susan Brownmiller’s4 seminal book on rape, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, was published, there has been a proliferation of scholarship in this area. This expanding body of scholarship includes perspectives on wartime rape in relation to international law,5 human rights,6 nationalism and identity,7 and violence against women more broadly.8 Although an exhaustive discussion of these contributions is not possible here, identifying major themes illustrates the need to consider the relationship of marriage and the family to wartime rape. One dominant theme within scholarship on wartime sexual violence is a focus on patriarchy. Feminists like Brownmiller have argued that wartime rape is an expression of institutionalized power hierarchies...


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