|Mass Rape in Bosnia and Rwanda. Violence, Silencing and Feminist Answers|
|This paper examines mass rape in the wars of the Nineties of the Twentieth century in Bosnia1 and Rwanda – conflicts which are usually known as ‘ethnic wars’. The aim of this work is firstly to show how the ethnic definition is not adequate and hides a deeper construction of nationalism. This construction is implemented e.g. by using the female body as symbol of the nation, and by the focusing of violence in Bosnia and Rwanda (which is not only sexual and physical but also psychological and symbolic) on women's body with the aim of affecting the future of the enemy group, and thereby interconnecting nationalism, gender, gendered body and sexuality. Secondly, it will be described that in the aftermath of these wars recovery programmes are not sufficient and leave out many women, while rape survivors in the programmes are marginalized and stigmatized. Finally the chapter will analyze how women try to find their answer to the problems in the post-war period through their own organizations and associations.
This approach questions the post-feminist focus on women's inferiority and on the psychology of rape victims, and instead agrees with a feminist approach on gender and sexual violence which calls in question the excessive victimization of raped women. Here the focus is still the victim, but the term “victim” itself should be rethought in relation to women's lived experience in the rape situation and afterwards, taking into account the political, social and psychological aspects of rape, survival and recovery. Women themselves may describe their strategy to react and their experience with other words and categories than “victim” and “survivor”. My study follows this interpretation and use the intersection of gender, sexuality, ethnicity/nationalism and identity/memory to scrutinize the processes developed by those women who survived mass rape and rethought their engagement in post-war societies as citizens more than as victims.|