Male-on-Male Sexual Violence in Wartime: Human Rights’ Last Taboo?

TitleMale-on-Male Sexual Violence in Wartime: Human Rights’ Last Taboo?
Publication TypeWebsite
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsDel Zotto, Augusta, and Adam Jones
Place PublishedNew Orleans

This paper on male-on-male sexual violence in wartime was presented at the Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA), in New Orleans, LA, 23-27 March 2002 and published online by the authors. It explores the near-total inattention to the male victim of sexual violence. The authors try to explain it with reference to a broad panoply of actors, with distinct but converging interests. They argue that we need to understand on the one hand why the subject has been designated as a ‘taboo’ by political elites, international organizations (notably the United Nations and its offshoot, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia) and non-governmental organizations as well. And on the other hand, we need to account for the general failure of feminist scholarship and activism to incorporate the issue in its analysis. Only then can some sense of the specific institutional challenges be gleaned, i.e. the key actors and discourses that buttress the wall of silence can be identified, and possible strategies for breaking down that wall and transforming policies in the field can be developed.

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