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Rape as a tool of war in eastern DR Congo
August 24, 2010 12:00 PM   Subscribe

Rape used as a tool of war: 200 women gang-raped near Congo base U.N. says. UN Chief outraged, FWIW. All links to news articles, but not for the weak of stomach.
posted by allkindsoftime (54 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
There was a gibe that went: "There's the Pope doing what he does best ...waving at poor people."

Seems like the UN leaves itself open to similar observations.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:07 PM on August 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


There's the UN, expressing outrage over atrocities that it has done nothing and will continue to do nothing to prevent.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:08 PM on August 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, to be fair, they are spending $1.35 billion-a-year to actually be there, doing nothing.
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:15 PM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Rape, when used as a weapon of war, is systematically employed for a variety of purposes, including intimidation, humiliation, political terror, extracting information, rewarding soldiers, and 'ethnic cleansing.'" It is also "largely based on traditional views of women as property"

There are few things in this world that make the scary drums start pounding in my head more quickly than the idea of institutionalized systematic rape being used as a weapon of mass destruction. The mere thought of it is enough to make my hands start shaking with an impotent rage that I can't through sheer force of will, make this... thing... go away.

The ease with which people can slip from being soldiers to monsters is absolutely terrifying and it makes me sick to my stomach.
posted by quin at 12:15 PM on August 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


There are lots of things that the UN has failed to do, but the UN was set up as a diplomatic organization, not as a world government. The UN is exactly as effective, or as ineffective, as its member states want it to be. Most of the nations of the world consider issues of human rights to be either a low priority or a non-issue. Nations care about human rights only when their enemies can be accused of violating those rights; otherwise is doesn't matter.
posted by grizzled at 12:17 PM on August 24, 2010 [44 favorites]


Except if you read the articles its says that there were only 25 U.N. peacekeepers in the area against 200-400 rebels. The rebels had occupied a town and 5 villages so when the peacekeepers moved in they ran into the forest but returned when the peacekeepers moved on to clear them out of the next area. So its not like they weren't trying its that they didn't have the manpower to possibly secure the area against a force that at a minimum was 8 times larger. I'd say its a pretty tough job to protect such a large area from anti-government forces as well as some of the government forces themselves.
posted by Sargas at 12:18 PM on August 24, 2010


I keep wondering why castrating irons have not become a counter-weapon of war.
posted by jb at 12:22 PM on August 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Earlier this summer Fresh Air had a really good interview with the Times East Africa Bureau Chief about criminally driven, ideology absent wars in Africa ("Unwars"). Transcript.
posted by The Straightener at 12:23 PM on August 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


I keep wondering why castrating irons have not become a counter-weapon of war.

Maybe because genocide is bad?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:26 PM on August 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Four young boys also were raped, said Dr. Kasimbo Charles Kacha, the district medical chief. Masudi said they were babies aged one month, six months, a year and 18 months.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:27 PM on August 24, 2010


That's horrendous. I can only hope that those women don't now have to deal with AIDS or an unwanted pregnancy on top of this. With only three of them getting medication or contraception, I think that hope may be a false one.
posted by twirlypen at 12:28 PM on August 24, 2010


I'd say its a pretty tough job to protect such a large area from anti-government forces as well as some of the government forces themselves.


True, Sargas. And even "tough" can seem optimistic.


From the end of the second link (USA today piece):
The Congolese government this year has demanded the withdrawal of the $1.35 billion-a-year U.N. mission, the largest peacekeeping force in the world with more than 20,000 soldiers, saying it has failed in its primary mandate to protect civilians.

Mission officials have said that the peacekeeping army is too small to police this sprawling nation the size of Western Europe, and that its peacekeepers are handicapped by rebels using civilians as shields and operating in rugged terrain where they are difficult to pursue.

The mission also has a difficult mandate of supporting the Congolese army, whose troops often also are accused of raping and pillaging.

posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:29 PM on August 24, 2010


At what point does somebody start actually doing something about this?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:29 PM on August 24, 2010


Women and children end up suffering the most in *any* conflict. Raping infants is a tool of war?! This is a tool to garner quick attention, as is evident from the UN chief's outrage. A tool to undeniably take the outrage levels a notch higher (not to dismiss reports of much worse atrocities against women in Africa).

allkindsoftime, you are a relief worker. What's the solution?
posted by xm at 12:29 PM on August 24, 2010


Earlier this summer Fresh Air had a really good interview with the Times East Africa Bureau Chief about criminally driven, ideology absent wars in Africa ("Unwars").

Sounds like just about every war in human history until the English Revolution.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:29 PM on August 24, 2010


I was so disturbed, I accidentally posted before I commented.

Four young boys also were raped, said Dr. Kasimbo Charles Kacha, the district medical chief. Masudi said they were babies aged one month, six months, a year and 18 months.

At what point do you come up with the idea for doing this? Do you just look at the small babies and think, "What's a good way to hurt them?" or is it more like all the women are taken and I want to rape something now! Honestly, I am curious, because it is so far from being a recognizable human response that I am having trouble grasping that actual humans did this.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:31 PM on August 24, 2010


At what point do you come up with the idea for doing this?

It's not an idea as much as a manifestation of hatred and unfathomable rage. Combine that with the near-total lack of accountability that comes with war, and that's what some people will be reduced to.
posted by deadmessenger at 12:35 PM on August 24, 2010


One source says the UN base was 20 miles away, the other says 10 miles away. If we split the difference, then that is at least 700 square miles of "picturesque hills" (read: convoluted, forested terrain where a square mile is a big area to monitor/traverse/"keep the peace" in. The UN deserves a lot of heat for a lot of things, but I am not sure they deserve it for this. Blame the rapists instead.
posted by Rumple at 12:35 PM on August 24, 2010


Animals are more kind to each other . . .
posted by quadog at 12:37 PM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's the solution?

Far be it from me to pretend I have an easy answer. Based on my limited experience, I think people in the first world having more - and more daily - real, raw exposure to what is happening in places like DRC (and the rest of the third world), is at least a good start. Frankly every comment that posts / news articles / etc. like this get (vs. another Lady Gaga post, et. al.) encourages me that people actually are cognizant that this shit is actually happening in the same world they live in.

grizzled made a great point above - the UN is doing what it was designed to do. Member nations don't pressure their government to pressure the UN. The USA is the biggest culprit here, the rest of the world's leading governments are right behind it in line. Maybe I'm naive, but if more people would read more international news and write their congressmen and senators about things that Shouldn't. Be. Happening. On. Our. Watch., maybe something small, but something significant, would change.

I guess I haven't yet given up hope that such a thing is possible. I had a lot more hope in Obama than most - so far he hasn't lived up to my (very) high expectations.
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:39 PM on August 24, 2010


At what point do you come up with the idea for doing this? Do you just look at the small babies and think, "What's a good way to hurt them?"

Sadly, in many parts of Africa, common medicine and witchcraft perpetuate the belief that sex with a virgin / child / etc. will cure HIV-AIDS. There are "elected" national leaders over here (of major nations, not some once-off of the 56 on the continent) who perpetuate the same beliefs amongst their people - sometimes by their actions more so than their words.
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:43 PM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I want to study things like this in grad school; more specifically, I'm interested in examining the interrelationship between constructions of masculinity and political violence. Our natural impulse is to sympathize with the victims, of course, but I wonder what the commission of this violence does to the men who commit it; how could you ever go back to being part of a community after you've done this even once, let alone many times, as many of these men probably have?

As for the prevalence of rape as a military tactic in this part of the world, I'm just at a loss. It's almost like a war of men against women, but it's difficult to subordinate the idea that women's bodies are just another battleground upon which men fight one another.
posted by clockzero at 12:46 PM on August 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Survivors said their attackers were from the FDLR that includes perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide who fled across the border to Congo in 1994 and have been terrorizing the population in eastern Congo ever since, according to Cragin.

Read Philip Gourevitch's We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families to learn how the international aid community has enabled these guys for years.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 12:49 PM on August 24, 2010


Leaving aside the UN for a moment: shouldn't the African Union start actually keeping its own house in order?
posted by orrnyereg at 12:49 PM on August 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


See also: International Crisis Group reports.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:09 PM on August 24, 2010


You might also be interested in:
Carrie Underwood needs her 'space'


Thanks, USA Today. That's exactly what I need to follow this article. Jesus Stabbing Christ.

*goes to HEAL Africa to make a donation*
*also UNFPA's Campaign to End Fistula*
posted by cereselle at 1:16 PM on August 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


There are lots of things that the UN has failed to do, but the UN was set up as a diplomatic organization, not as a world government.

Well, a diplomatic organization with its own military force (Art. 43). But the undermining you speak of by member states began pretty much as soon as the ink began to dry on the Charter. No one wanted to put troops under U.N. command. It's arguable, given the bureaucratic machinery, whether or not it could ever have been a "rapid response" force, but it was the intention.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:32 PM on August 24, 2010


Based on my limited experience, I think people in the first world having more - and more daily - real, raw exposure to what is happening in places like DRC (and the rest of the third world), is at least a good start.

First world having more exposure to what is happening in places like DRC (and the rest of the world)? We actually have empirical data. Rape as a tool of war has been used with premeditation and widely, and widely publicized... in the heart of that very "first world". And not back in the mists of history, but back in the 90's, less than 20 years ago. I am talking about the Balkan Wars and the attendant ethnic cleansing. That's when the concept of "rape as a tool of war" became widely known to the public consciousness here in the West. And yes, it was happening in areas of under the putative protection of the U.N.. All the publicity in the first world didn't stop the rapes happening right next door, right in the heart of NATO military dominance. Ultimately what stopped it was U.S. military engagement by president Clinton (in the teeth of Republican opposition, btw.). Make of that what you wish.
posted by VikingSword at 2:19 PM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's the UN, expressing outrage over atrocities that it has done nothing and will continue to do nothing to prevent.

The UN is not a country. It is made up of its member states, and they decide how the UN acts/reacts/engages. If the member states want nothing done, nothing gets done. Don't blame the UN, blame the countries in the UN...including your own...which is guided by your opinions and ACTIONS.

There are few things in this world that make the scary drums start pounding in my head more quickly than the idea of institutionalized systematic rape being used as a weapon of mass destruction.

This isn't a new concept. Its been going on for as long as violence has existed. Rape is horrible, but lets not forget that it is violence. War is violence. Some people who engage in violence aren't the most honorable, and will go after the easy target. Unfortunately, it is a tried and tested technique of war that is considered effective. If you want to prevent this kind of violence, prevent war.

I keep wondering why castrating irons have not become a counter-weapon of war.

What kind of fucking comment is this? This isn't a boys vs girls issue. Rape is horrible, the answer isn't to institute some kind of war tactic against males, its to stop rape.

I can only hope that those women don't now have to deal with AIDS or an unwanted pregnancy on top of this.

I think you and I both know the reality of this.

Do you just look at the small babies and think, "What's a good way to hurt them?" or is it more like all the women are taken and I want to rape something now! Honestly, I am curious, because it is so far from being a recognizable human response that I am having trouble grasping that actual humans did this.

Its a combination of misinformation about "virgin blood", and an attitude that comes from being able to do anything one wants to do. Give someone power and no consequence, and you will see them doing things that could not be imagined by others who aren't in the same situation. Once one gets bored with beating up men, killing men, raping women, killing women...and they move on to even worse stuff.

Animals are more kind to each other . . .
I think you're forgetting that humans are a few tax brackets and a few walls removed from "animals". Take that away, and you will see what humans are capable of.

I'm interested in examining the interrelationship between constructions of masculinity and political violence. Our natural impulse is to sympathize with the victims, of course, but I wonder what the commission of this violence does to the men who commit it; how could you ever go back to being part of a community after you've done this even once, let alone many times, as many of these men probably have?

This has as much to do with masculinity as does the ability to drop bombs on key locations. Its violence, its not sex. Comrades support each other doing this because its "us against them". People aren't more manly because they commit more rapes, they are considered better "soldiers". That IS their community. They don't go back to candystriping the cancer ward. This IS their community.

As for the prevalence of rape as a military tactic in this part of the world, I'm just at a loss. It's almost like a war of men against women, but it's difficult to subordinate the idea that women's bodies are just another battleground upon which men fight one another.

When a woman is raped in war, just like if a man has a leg amputated, its not just THAT person who is affected; people around them suffer as well. A common tactic in war is to use weighted(the name escapes me) bullets. You can fire at a person's rib, but it doesn't go through and out their back. It hits a bone and follows the path of the bone coming out of their side or arm, or somewhere else. This doesn't kill them immediately. It necessitates 1 or more other comrades helping out the injured victim. Because of that, one bullet effectively takes out more than 1 person. Rape is the same way; it hurts not only the person who suffered the physical violence, but others around them who are hurt, stunned, in shock, and have to spend their efforts on the victim. Killing someone would take one person out. Violence at this level takes numerous people out, allowing numerous people to suffer from one action.

This shit is horrible, but I hope people don't think this wasn't done by the union in the american civil war, the allies in wwii, the americans in iraq and afghanistan. This is a war tactic. The geneva convention prohibits rape...but there isn't a damn person who can say this isn't breached in EVERY war.

The problem isn't rape, its war. If you support a war, you are supporting rape. You cannot say "Its ok to shoot a soldier, but not ok to rape a non-combatant". It WILL happen if there is a war. People who have never fought in a war set up rules and policies on what one is able to do. But those people are not the ones who rely on their basest instincts when threatened with the possibility of death. If you have war you will have rape...and it may even be done by the person you have tied the yellow ribbon around the tree for, To think otherwise is foolish.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:31 PM on August 24, 2010 [13 favorites]


I guess I haven't yet given up hope that such a thing is possible. I had a lot more hope in Obama than most - so far he hasn't lived up to my (very) high expectations.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:39 PM on August 24


Obama will do nothing about the situation in Africa or anywhere else because Obama is not willing to seriously engage globalism as the source of these problems. Because that is the problem here--globalism/global corporate capitalism. Specifically, the emergence of Africa as a battleground in the present and future conflicts over natural resources. That conflict projected onto very local and very backward tribal or ethnic conflicts is a recipe for catastrophe.

Publicity will do worse than nothing. The publicity of the atrocities absent any real engagement as I mentioned above will desensitize the public to the conflicts.

Furthermore, I do not believe that the flood of foreign investment from China and oil investment from the west is so massive that any attempt by Africans to lead some pan-African collectivist revolt is doomed to failure.

The sad thing is that what makes Africa an attractive place for the developed world to fight over resources is precisely why only a moderately sized force is needed to maintain peace. The conflicts here are very small military scale--small arms, untrained fighters, etc. A force like that which has recently left Iraq would be functionally invincible in Africa given proper ROEs. But it is that small scale conflict that makes the western powers comfortable enough to play chess with Africa-no conflict will ever become so great as to be unmanageable, unlike what happened in the middle east, where conflicts were orders of magnitude more destructive.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:32 PM on August 24, 2010


If only it were that simple! If only there were evil people somewhere,
insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them
from the rest of us and destroy them.
But the line dividing good and evil runs through every the heart of every human being.
And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
~ Alexander Solzhenitsyn


We should be wary of trying to paint the actors of these atrocities as anything other than just as human as every one of us.
posted by CrystalDave at 3:00 PM on August 24, 2010 [9 favorites]


CrystalDave: We should be wary of trying to paint the actors of these atrocities as anything other than just as human as every one of us.

"The awful thing about life is this: everyone has their reasons." Jean Renoir
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:07 PM on August 24, 2010


When the Red Army swept though Eastern Europe in the waning months of WWII, if you were a German female between like 10 and 70, you were pretty much going to be raped, and frankly, if that's all that happened, you were pretty lucky. From what I read, crucifixions and summary executions weren't uncommon. Several people killed themselves.

The Red Army had been so conditioned to hate the German people through propaganda and by the way the German military treated Russian citizens that they were basically uncontrollable. Basically. whenever a group of people has a complete disregard for a group of other people, when the first group has power over the other bad things are going to happen, and rape is, unfortunately, not uncommon in these situations.

It seems like sometimes that the way to peace is not to make people like each other but to simply keep them apart as much as possible.
posted by elder18 at 3:21 PM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Secretary-General was also raped?
posted by toodleydoodley at 3:39 PM on August 24, 2010


I don't see castration of rapists as attacking all males. They have turned their genitalia into weapons -- why not act to disarm them?
posted by jb at 4:15 PM on August 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I had a lot more hope in Obama than most - so far he hasn't lived up to my (very) high expectations.

I had very little hope for Obama, but really, what would you have him, or us, do? And in how many countries? And for how long?

....they were basically uncontrollable.


Not that anyone was particularly interested in controlling them.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:16 PM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe we should make conflict coltan the new conflict diamonds. How about we start applying pressure on the Steve Jobs of the world to pledge no more Coltan from Congo until the rapes end. Anyone ready to give up their smart phones to stop a little atrocity? Didn't think so...carry on distancing yourself from the problem by blaming the UN/Obama/evil.
posted by any major dude at 4:20 PM on August 24, 2010


The best comments IMHO came from Viking Sword and hal_c_on. No one did a Hell of a lot about rapes committed during the Bosnisn war. The fact is President Clinton did do a lot more than the U.N. did to stop the genocide.

Another thing is that hal_c_on is correct that rape is a art of war. A feminist who'se name escapes me said 'Rape is the pay-off for men in war.'

The point also has been made that maybe publicity helps desensitize people to attrocities in war. There isprobably some truth to that but that said,

I do not know how anyone gets justice in these situations if there is no publicity.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:46 PM on August 24, 2010


From any major dude's link:
The newly adopted US financial reform law stipulates that any company doing business that involves minerals must disclose annually whether conflict materials originating in the DRC or an adjoining country were used in the process. This applies not only to electronics companies, but to all publicly traded US firms that use gold, cassiterite, tungsten or coltan in their products. Companies are required to exercise due diligence on the source and chain of custody of these materials, and measures to ensure oversight shall include an independent audit of the report.
Some progress. Still, wow.
posted by disillusioned at 5:10 PM on August 24, 2010


jb: It's not unfair or anti men. It's just incredibly fucking stupid.

Who'se going to castrate these soldiers? Is it going to be a matter of dicipline in their own army? Maybe the UN is going to do it, because I certainly can't see how a foreign army launching a mass castration campaign in Africa could cause any bad reactions. Maybe it'll be done by the opposing side when they win. In which case, congratulations, you've just moved the problem from "Mass rape" to "mass rape and castration".

I realize this post is drifting onto the edge of civility, and I'm sorry, but it really is a stupid idea.
posted by Grimgrin at 5:14 PM on August 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Obama will do nothing about the situation in Africa or anywhere else because Obama is not willing to seriously engage globalism as the source of these problems

At first my response to this was 'right, this guy who's already fighting 2/3 of his own country politically is going to turn around and take on the largest conceptual abstraction driving the rest of the power in the world'.

But then I took off my jaded realist hat and realized 'yeah, yes, that's exactly what I want the leader of the free world to do'.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 5:18 PM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The problem isn't rape, its war. If you support a war, you are supporting rape.

That's the single most absurd comment I have read on metafilter.


You cannot say "Its ok to shoot a soldier, but not ok to rape a non-combatant".

1. I suppose that includes 6-24 mo non-combatants as well?

2. By that logic, what happened at Abu Ghraib should be all fine and dandy? The world that was outraged and disgusted at the American soldiers who participated were being a wee bit dramatic?

And if that logic doesn't apply, then it's not applying to "EVERY" war.

So, which one is it, exactly?


It WILL happen if there is a war.

Just because it happens doesn't mean it is justified by default.


To think otherwise is foolish.

To think they are equal and to expect it is sinking further down the drain, towards those who perpetrate the crimes.
posted by xm at 6:56 PM on August 24, 2010


I hope people don't think this wasn't done by the union in the american civil war

I don't think there was widespread rape by Union soldiers, no. It's certainly a persistent myth in the South that Union troops committed such crimes, especially in the infamous March to the Sea, but there isn't really any evidence of it.
posted by palliser at 7:52 PM on August 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


xm, you seem to have completely missed the point of hal_c_on's post entirely...

You cannot say "Its ok to shoot a soldier, but not ok to rape a non-combatant".

1. I suppose that includes 6-24 mo non-combatants as well?

Yes, hal_c_on clearly believes that it's not ok to rape a 6-24 mo non-combatant.


2. By that logic, what happened at Abu Ghraib should be all fine and dandy? The world that was outraged and disgusted at the American soldiers who participated were being a wee bit dramatic?

Again, you're 180-degrees off-base. hal_c_on is pointing out that participating in a war absolutely, undeniably means that some of your 'brave, hard-fighting, loyal and virtuous' troops are going to be rapists and torturers. And pointing out that this is morally outrageous to even naively support.


To think they are equal and to expect it is sinking further down the drain, towards those who perpetrate the crimes.

Seriously, smoke a jade or something.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:17 PM on August 24, 2010


I don't see castration of rapists as attacking all males. They have turned their genitalia into weapons -- why not act to disarm them?

This wouldn't disarm them whatsoever. It's possibly more personally insulting to rape with one's own dick, but it's not as if castration would prevent violent sexual assault. In fact, it would probably make it worse -- at least penises don't have cutting edges.
posted by desuetude at 10:51 PM on August 24, 2010


It's possibly more personally insulting to rape with one's own dick, but it's not as if castration would prevent violent sexual assault. In fact, it would probably make it worse -- at least penises don't have cutting edges.

I don't think castration means what you think it means. The penis stays in the picture.

This wouldn't disarm them whatsoever.


Exactly.

(P.S.)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:21 PM on August 24, 2010


in the heart of that very "first world". And not back in the mists of history, but back in the 90's, less than 20 years ago. I am talking about the Balkan Wars and the attendant ethnic cleansing. That's when the concept of "rape as a tool of war" became widely known to the public consciousness here in the West.

For some values of "Public Consciousness". What was allowed to happen in Bosnia continues to be the most shameful act of collective cowardice by supposedly civilised people in post WWII European history.

Maybe we should make conflict coltan the new conflict diamonds. How about we start applying pressure on the Steve Jobs of the world to pledge no more Coltan from Congo until the rapes end. Anyone ready to give up their smart phones to stop a little atrocity? Didn't think so...carry on distancing yourself from the problem by blaming the UN/Obama/evil.

This will work as well as the conflict diamonds campaign did. Not at all.
posted by atrazine at 12:16 AM on August 25, 2010


I don't think there was widespread rape by Union soldiers, no. It's certainly a persistent myth in the South that Union troops committed such crimes, especially in the infamous March to the Sea, but there isn't really any evidence of it.

Not to derail too much, but i do want to address this point. I know what you are talking about regarding sherman. I visited Savannah once, and yeah, there still is a lot of hate against the north voiced publicly.

The prostitutes of new orleans were "disrespectful" to union soldiers who had occupied it for a time. General Butler ordered a decree that said that women who acted disrespectfully would be treated as such by his soldiers. This created outrage at the time, and people asked Lincoln to get him to rescind the decree. He didn't.

So yeah, i cant really give you evidence for rape that happened 150 years ago, but I ask of you to look up general butler. He's most famous for allowing his soldiers to attack women without consequences.

The civil war in the us was no different from any other war regarding this concept. I studied history in college a decade ago and didn't learn about butler's decree till a few months ago.

A big shout out to iambbroom for clarifying my point to those i may have inadvertently confused with my words.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:14 AM on August 25, 2010


I don't think castration means what you think it means. The penis stays in the picture.

Huh? I know what castration means. Did you think I was confusing it with penectomy?
posted by desuetude at 9:13 AM on August 25, 2010


Yes, I did, because that is exactly what your comment suggested.

(Although we do agree on the overall point that castration is no solution, so, yeah, whatever. But: Pedantry points!)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:33 AM on August 25, 2010


I respect human life, but does anyone believe that people who systemically rape people, even infants can somehow be rehabilitated? If the UN or any government were to do anything, sadly I think it would need to be some sort of military operation that separates the rapist militant groups from common peoples geographically then bombs the rapists' locations with the intention of wiping them out.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:40 PM on August 25, 2010


The prostitutes of new orleans were "disrespectful" to union soldiers who had occupied it for a time. General Butler ordered a decree that said that women who acted disrespectfully would be treated as such by his soldiers. This created outrage at the time, and people asked Lincoln to get him to rescind the decree. He didn't....He's most famous for allowing his soldiers to attack women without consequences.

That ain't the way I heard it. What I heard is that the women who disrespected the occupying soldiers (anything from crossing the street as Billy Yank approached to dumping a loaded chamber pot on Captain Farragut's head) were not prostitutes and that the outrage was over an order which by extraneous actions insisted that they were. Placing respectable women outside the protection of both polite society and the law. Butler was removed from this particular duty after the international disgust his order (and other excesses) suggested. Even so, to claim the order was a license to rape is pushing it - even prostitutes expect to get paid, and to have some say in whether the transaction takes place.

BTW, he was also known as Spoons Butler for his alleged habit of taking silver from southern houses. An officer, but not a gentleman.

As to rape during the US Civil War, well, again, hard to prove one way or the other at this remove. But the evidence is thin, certainly compared to modern wars. Much talk of outrages and insults, but we're talking a Victorian sensibility here; that could mean anything. Certainly it could work as propaganda to keep a demoralized southern army fighting. For more on this from both sides, see this and this.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:54 PM on August 25, 2010


Yes, I did, because that is exactly what your comment suggested.

Castration reduces sex drive. It would be more difficult for a castrated man to summon forth the erection needed to rape with his penis.

However, there would be nothing preventing him from violating women with something else to join in on the "intimidation, humiliation, political terror, extracting information" part of the mission.
posted by desuetude at 8:05 PM on August 25, 2010


but does anyone believe that people who systemically rape people, even infants can somehow be rehabilitated? If the UN or any government were to do anything, sadly I think it would need to be some sort of military operation that separates the rapist militant groups from common peoples geographically then bombs the rapists' locations with the intention of wiping them out.

How could the criteria for classifying people as subhuman and slated for systematic slaughter possibly go wrong? I mean, besides perpetuating an endless cycle of violent revenge.

The gacaca courts in Rwanda were founded to help communities move forward after the genocide via something other than more killing. It's recognized that common peoples committed rape and murder. Opinions as to the success of the courts are highly mixed, major flaws are noted, but then again, forgiveness is an unusual aim for justice, and both are difficult to quantify.
posted by desuetude at 8:32 PM on August 25, 2010


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