Exploiting the Dignity of the Vulnerable Body: Rape as a Weapon of War

Philosophical Papers 38 (3):307-325 (2011)
Abstract
When the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia convicted the Bosnian Serb soldiers who used rape as a weapon of war of violating the human right to sexual self determination and of crimes against humanity, it transformed vulnerability from a mark of feminine weakness to a shared human condition. The court's judgment directs us to note the ways in which the exploitation of our bodied vulnerability is an assault on our dignity. It alerts us to the ways in which the body of human rights law is a law of bodies; to the ways in which our desire for intimacy creates communal ties that ground our personal and social identities; to the ways in which the symbolic meanings of our bodies are integral to our sense of integrity and worth; and to the ways in which gender structures which position men as protectors of women make it possible for rape to be used as an effective and criminal weapon of war
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