Mass Rape: The War Against Women in Bosnia-Herzegovina / Edition 1

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Alexandra Stiglmayer interviewed survivors of the continuing war in Bosnia-Herzegovina in order to reveal, to a seemingly deaf world, the horrors of the ongoing war in the former Yugoslavia. The women—primarily of Muslim but also of Croatian and Serbian origin—have endured the atrocities of rape and the loss of loved ones. Their testimony, published in the 1993 German edition, is bare, direct, and its cumulative effect overwhelming.

The first English edition contains Stiglmayer's updates to her own two essays, one detailing the historical context of the current conflict and the other presenting the core of the book, interviews with some twenty victims of rape as well as interviews with three Serbian perpetrators. Essays investi-gating mass rape and war from ethnopsychological, sociological, cultural, and medical perspectives are included.

New essays by Catharine A. MacKinnon, Rhonda Copelon, and Susan Brownmiller address the crucial issues of recognizing the human rights of women and children. A foreword by Roy Gutman describes war crimes within the context of the UN Tribunal, and an afterword by Cynthia Enloe relates the mass rapes of this war to developments and reactions in the international women's movement.

Accounts of torture, murder, mutilation, abduction, sexual enslavement, and systematic attempts to impregnate—all in the name of "ethnic cleansing"—make for the grimmest of reading. However brutal and appalling the information conveyed here, this book cannot and should not be ignored.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Contrary to its title, the 10 essays in Mass Rape are concerned more with gender theory than with the plight of Bosnian women. Catharine MacKinnon, most often associated with the battle against pornography in North America, contributed two essays. In one, she likens rape camps to brothels. In both, she says, these sexual crimes ``are to everyday rapes what the Holocaust was to everyday anti-Semitism.'' Such repetition brings into question the skills of the editor, but because Stiglmayer's two essays are by far the most compelling--and stick closest to the subject matter--she can be forgiven. One of four contributors with direct experience of the former Yugoslavia, her accounts of the victims and rapists are chilling, and her historical perspective provides an understanding of what is happening now in the Balkans. The closest the other writers come to historical perspective is to theorize about why women are raped during war. Susan Brownmiller says ``the penis becomes justified as a weapon in a logistical reality of unarmed noncombatants.'' Ruth Seifert reasons that women ``are the objects of a fundamental hatred that characterizes the cultural unconscious and is actualized in times of crisis.'' As feminist jargon, it can't be beat. But when it comes to helping further the understanding of the Bosnian women who have been taken from their homes in the middle of the night, blindfolded, gang-raped and violated with broken bottles-- Mass Rape disappoints. (June)
Library Journal
Ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia has prompted calls for a war crimes tribunal similar to the Nuremberg trials. The core essay in this collection, originally published in Germany in 1993, is one of the documents that first called attention to the magnitude of the atrocities. Its interviews with 20 rape survivors makes clear that all sides in the dispute are committing a share of the atrocities and that these actions are part of a deliberate plan. Additional essays in this first English edition by editor Stiglmayer, Roy Gutman, Catharine MacKinnon, Susan Brownmiller, and others discuss ethnopsychology, why rape always occurs during war, previous war crimes tribunals, the legal and feminist issues involved in bringing charges now, and, unconvincingly, the roots of the present conflict. The reporting's nonsensational, understated approach does nothing to blunt the horror of the events reported. Recommended for international affairs and women's studies collections.-Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York
Roy Gutman
"How is one to explain the sudden reappearance of genocide on European soil less than a half century after the Nazi Holocaust and after three gen-erations of Europeans and Americans had come of age accepting the motto 'never again'?"—Roy Gutman, author of A Witness to Genocide
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803292291
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 260
  • Sales rank: 997,146
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Alexandra Stiglmayer studied journalism at the University of Dortmund. Since 1992 she has been a freelance correspondent in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia for German and American radio and television. Marion Faber, the translator, is a professor of comparative literature at Swarthmore College and the translator of Nietzsche's Human, All Too Human (Nebraska 1984) and Sarah Kirsch's The Panther Woman (Nebraska 1989).
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Table of Contents

List of Maps
The War in the Former Yugoslavia 1
Open Wounds: Ethnopsychoanalytic Reflections on the Wars in the Former Yugoslavia 35
War and Rape: A Preliminary Analysis 54
Turning Rape into Pornography: Postmodern Genocide 73
The Rapes in Bosnia-Herzegovina 82
The Muslim Woman 170
Psychiatric Aspects of the Rapes in the War against the Republics of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina 174
Making Female Bodies the Battlefield 180
Rape, Genocide, and Women's Human Rights 183
Surfacing Gender: Reconceptualizing Crimes against Women in Time of War 197
Afterword 219
The Contributors 231
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