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Justyna Granacka

 "Female perpetrators of sexual violence in armed conflict."

Discussions and research into wartime violence in general, and wartime sexual violence in particular, tend to focus their attention on the narrative following male-aggressor, female-victim standpoint. I will argue the opposite angle of this argument proving that women are not only the civilian victims of the armed conflict, but some choose to actively participate in military operations, and others commit the most heinous crimes. This research will therefore establish clear understanding of female perpetrators of sexual violence in armed conflict.

By examining the laws created by the international courts and tribunals as a response to international and internal conflicts over the past decades I will identify the progress made in prosecuting wartime sexual violence, but also will expose the limitations of the international humanitarian laws that undermine the rights of women and girls in armed conflict.

By examining the existing transitional justice processes through the gendered lens I will demonstrate how women have been largely excluded from various types of post conflict policy processes. Following the male-aggressor, female-victim narrative is dangerous in that it assumes that women are not combatants and therefore are not entitled to participate or benefit from demobilization, disarmament and reintegration processes, as it happened in Sierra Leone for example.

By examining media and the scholar representations of the few documented cases of sexual violence in armed conflict committed by women, I will demonstrate how they both apply the ‘beautiful soul’ assumption on all women, and frame those who commit violent and sexual crimes in ‘mother, monster, whore’ theory.

Overall I will provide with clarification that crime of rape is not a crime of sexual nature, but an attempt to establish power. Whether it is by sexual slavery, forced impregnations, gang rape or sexual humiliation, the objective of sexual violence is always the same, whether committed by men or women.

 

PRIMARY SUPERVISOR

Dr Ronagh McQuigg

SECONDARY SUPERVISOR

Dr Kathryn McNeilly