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Violated Bodies: Combat Injuries and Sexual Assault in the U.S. Military

  • Stephanie SzitanyiEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

What role does gender play in conceptualizations of “military wounding”? Through a discourse analysis juxtaposing war wounding against wounding through solider-on-soldier sexual assault, the chapter argues that narratives on wounding marginalize, and exclude, forms of injury that do not conform to narrow constructions, discrediting forms of gendered harm (Weldes, Constructing National Interests: The US and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999). It suggests a degendered definition of military injury would not only include psychological injuries incurred through military operations, but other “invisible” wounds, such as those suffered through military sexual assault. Instead, military officials position the institution as victim through medicalization and securitization rhetoric, pathologizing sexual assault as a “cancer” or “plague” infiltrating the organization. The chapter presents rape survivor testimonials documented in the 2012 documentary, The Invisible War, which showcases narratives used in the military to mask, silence, and ignore sexual and psychological injuries. The use of documentaries represents an alternative mode through which average citizens may receive messages about gender and the military.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Schools of Public EngagementThe New SchoolNew YorkUSA

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