Conquest and Rape

Although wartime sexuality occurs behind the lines, not in tandem with violence, gender and sexuality can sometimes encode domination in war. These aspects do not characterize war generally, but do recur in a variety of contexts.

Trexler (1995, pp. 1,12-37) documents the "inveterate male habit of gendering enemies female or effeminate" throughout the ancient world. The most common pattern in warfare in the ancient Middle East and Greece was literally to feminize a conquered population by executing male captives, raping the women, and then taking women and children as slaves. Gendered massacres continue today, notably in Srebrenica, Bosnia, in 1995. Another way to feminize conquered enemies—castrating men before or after killing them or taking them prisoner—was widespread in the ancient world, practiced by Chinese, Persian, Amalekite, Egyptian, Norse, Inca, and Dahomey armies (Trexler, 1995, pp. 16-19, 66, 72-73, 76-78). Symbolic and actual anal rape of men has also served to feminize enemies in many cultures (Trexler, 1995, pp. 14-15, 20-29).

Rape of women—actual and symbolic—recurs in wartime (Goldstein, 2001, pp. 362-373). It expresses domination and conquest, while humiliating enemy males. Conceivably, elevated testosterone levels in victorious soldiers contribute to post-conquest rapes, though such an effect seems weak. Most soldiers do not rape. Rape in wartime, including forced prostitution, has long been illegal under the Geneva Conventions.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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