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Men and Women as Victims of War

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Men and Women as Victims of War . Introduction. Another facet of war-related gender roles is the treatment of both genders as victims of war Gender roles also play a determinative role in what treatment each gender receives during a war

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  • Another facet of war-related gender roles is the treatment of both genders as victims of war
  • Gender roles also play a determinative role in what treatment each gender receives during a war
  • Civilians have become increasingly more involved in war and have become the primary victims of war rather than soldiers
comfort women
Comfort Women
  • During World War 2, the Japanese army employed ‘comfort women’ against their will to work as prostitutes for gratification of soldiers
  • Estimates for number of women involved range from as low as 20,000 from Japanese scholars to 400,000 from Chinese scholars
war rape
War Rape
  • Women often targeted and seen as objects/ war spoils to the male soldiers who encountered them
  • Often treated as reward for the soldiers’ fighting
  • The treatment of conquered territories perceived as being the right of the victors to determine led to looting, rape, murder, and other atrocities
  • Also occurs with men, though not as frequently reported
examples of war rape
Examples of War Rape
  • 23% of men and 30% of women in Eastern Congo have reported sexual violence
  • 76% of male political prisoners in Cambodia in 80s El Salvador and 80% of Sarajevo inmates reported sexual violence
  • Largest mass rape in history perpetrated by Red Army during World War 2, where over two million German women were raped by the advancing Russian army, as well as indiscriminate rape of liberated people along the way; Stalin formally issued statement ordering their deaths but personally saw the solders’ actions as permissible
  • War rape by Canadians, British, and Americans when fighting in France was also frequent
the rape of nanking
The Rape of Nanking
  • One of the most notorious examples of Japanese war atrocities
  • Over a six week period, Japanese soldiers indiscriminately massacred, looted, and raped people in Chinese city of Nanking
  • Over 400,000 estimated deaths and 20,000 estimated rapes
  • Women treated as livestock existing for sexual gratification of soldiers and often murdered afterwards
  • Both women and men treated horribly by soldiers in many cases
  • Female gender roles during war relegate women to passive receptacles of male sexual desire; the divide between dominant, ‘male’ roles and obedient, ‘female’ roles find extreme expression during times of war where women are treated as livestock
  • Shows how warfare, and militaristic mentalities, often engender violent and sexist perceptions of women and their roles to men
  • Men also victims of poor treatment during war, though more often tortured violently
  • Male rape more often a result of desire to humiliate victim than in female cases
  • Treatment of victims during war brings out dormant attitudes of sexism and internalized gender roles in extreme manners
  • While now viewed as a war crime, and given more attention, war rape still often occurs in many warring countries like Congo