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Suffering in Silence? The Silencing of Sexual Violence Against Men in War Torn Countries

  • Élise FéronEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 56)

Abstract

The suffering induced by sexual violence against men and boys in conflict zones has not yet been the focus of many studies, and can be explained by several reasons. Research on sexual violence during conflicts focuses mainly on girls and women, who make up the great majority of victims of such types of violence. “Rape as a weapon of war” has almost become synonymous with sexual violence against girls and women during conflicts. Since men are generally seen as the perpetrators of such atrocities, it can be difficult and confusing to conceptualize them as victims. This type of sexual violence stands in contrast with common narratives on war and suffering. It seems that speaking about sexual violence against men would somehow undermine policies and programs designed to fight rape of women during wartime by demonstrating that women are not the only victims – and might even also be perpetrators – of sexual violence. Sexual violence against men and boys is a taboo issue, especially in countries where male-on-male rape is confused with homosexuality. As a consequence, victims fear stigmatization, and would rather not speak about it at all. This contribution explores what triggers such a silencing, as well as its consequences at the political, social, and cultural levels.

Keywords

Sexual violence Suffering Gender Masculinity Ethnic cleansing Rape Stigmatization 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Conflict Analysis Research CentreUniversity of KentCanterburyUK

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