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NCJ Number: 154559 Find in a Library
Title: Rape as a Crime of War: A Medical Perspective
Journal: JAMA  Volume:270  Issue:5  Dated:(August 4, 1993)  Pages:512-515
Author(s): S Swiss; J E Giller
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 4
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the scope and causes of rape during war and provides guidelines for the role of medical personnel in documenting and treating rape during war.
Abstract: The common occurrence of sexual violence and rape of women and girls during detention, torture, and war has previously been documented. In war, rape is an assault on both the individual victim and her family and community. As well as an attempt to dominate, humiliate, and control behavior, rape in war can also be a strategy to disable an enemy by destroying the bonds of family and society. In situations of ethnic conflict, as is the case in the former Yugoslavia, rape can be both a military strategy and a nationalistic policy. As an expression of ethnic group hatred, rape of "enemy" women can be explicitly ordered or tacitly condoned by military authorities. In the former Yugoslavia, refugees described how public raping of women by military forces was used systematically to force families to flee from their villages, thus achieving the goal of "ethnic cleansing." In addition to providing treatment for individual survivors of rape, the medical community has an important role to fulfill in investigating and documenting incidents of rape. Such documentation can help to establish the magnitude of rape in war and hold perpetrators accountable. Since rape in war affects not only the individual but also the family and community to which the survivor belongs, the restoration of social and community bonds is central to the process of healing and must be addressed within the specific cultural setting. 39 references
Main Term(s): Victim medical assistance
Index Term(s): Psychological warfare; Rape causes; Sexual assault victims
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