Macquarie University
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Examining the Role that Social Abjection and Stigma Play in Prohibiting Female Re-Acceptance into Minority Cultures Post Wartime-Rape

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posted on 2024-05-13, 01:56 authored by Ashleigh Shankar

Throughout the history of warfare, rape and other forms of sexual violence against women in particular have even extremely widespread and prolific (Henry, 2016). However, despite legal interventions and feminist critiques, rape in war has endured as a lasting legacy of violent conflict that has almost exclusively been perpetrated against women (Henry, 2016). Through this overarching perspective, this thesis aims to understand the mechanisms contributing to women remaining conspicuous victims of sexual violence. The focus on gender, is therefore crucial to the way in which the war environment is understood as contemporary literature highlights that wartime is fuelled by clear, hierarchal distinctions between masculinity and femininity. These distinctions emphasise female subordination to men and reinforce their lower social standings, allowing male perpetrators to assert physical and sexual dominance upon their victims. The result of such rigid, underlying structures of gendered, psychic formation is that female bodies are frequently targeted through sexual violence through varying techniques. For example, mass rapes and gang rapes at the hands of male combatants, often through oral, anal and vaginal penetration. In this context, wartime rape cannot be viewed as a ‘regrettable’ side effect and an ‘inevitable’ product of war, predicated on natural male virility, heterosexuality and domination. Rather, wartime rape showcases through an elevated lens the traditional, masculine, and by extension, hegemonic desire to asset power, dominance and control on an extremis scale.

Drawing on these debates, this project undertakes a critical discourse analysis of a witness statement given to the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia of a rape victim and survivor during the Bosnian War. In doing so, this thesis examines the roles and impact of stigmatising rituals that arise as a consequence of social objection, which ultimately shapes the experiences of rape victims in times of conflict.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter 1 -- Chapter 2 -- Chapter 3 -- Chapter 4 -- Chapter 5 -- Conclusion -- References

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Master of Research

Department, Centre or School

Department of Security Studies and Criminology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Alexander Simpson

Additional Supervisor 1

Julian Droogan


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




60 pages

Former Identifiers

AMIS ID: 348970

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