Conflict Related Sexual Violence
By Nemi Bhavsar
Human rights violations that occur when sexual violence is used as a weapon.
This article brings together available social science research on CSRV into two categories: causes and outcomes. Overall, research is aimed to make a significant progress in our understanding of the causes of CRSV, notably in 4 areas: purpose, context, individual motivations, and intra-group relations. There is a need of understanding this from grass root levels considering the Psycho-Social needs and other requirements as well.
Understanding the purpose and context
Brown miller in his study has very precisely conceptualised the basic psychology behind using systematic rape as a weapon of vengeance by examining gender relations in warzones and conflict areas. He argued that when women in times of peace are considered as a possession of a man it gets amplified during war times.
Feminist research has maintained since its origin that men and women’s relationships are not equal, but rather hierarchical and patriarchal. Women are traditionally viewed as men’s possessions in this social framework. ‘The soldier becomes an adrenaline-rushed young guy with permission to kick in the door, to seize, to steal, to give vent to his suppressed wrath against all women who belong to other men,’ writes Brown miller of the combat zone.
And, to my surprise, this was seen during the Rwandan genocide and continues to be seen now. Such mental constructs are the result of fundamental patriarchy, in which masculinity is connected with power and authority, while femininity is associated with submissiveness and vulnerability. Women are raped not because they are adversaries, but because they are the targets of a deep-seated hatred that pervades the collective psyche and manifests itself during times of catastrophe.
The judgement of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which was the first in an international court to recognise rape as a form of genocide, reaffirmed the idea that rape can be regarded an element of genocide.
What can be done?
What bothers more is that international conventions and these treaties that aim to protect women from violence are focusing merely on the tip of the ice berg, it is too broad to be effective in terms of its practical applications. We cannot dismantle systematic oppression in sea of diversity by just drafting few pages that calls for prohibition. It requires more than this artificial mechanism. Here is a small representation of how actually the human right treaties are working-
Human rights cannot be safeguarded solely by campaigning against violence and hostility, and other factors cannot be overlooked too selectively. I believe that a plight of women is better understood by women, we need more women as stakeholders when it comes to drafting conventions, speaking up for real issues in assemblies and by that I mean inclusivity of women from all ethnic backgrounds. Community interventions are important, state accountability is important! International law is what we call positive morality at one point kits effectiveness gets faded and there can be instances where it is completely avoided.
Psycho- social reforms
We see that human right laws need support of many other disciplines such as psychological reinforcement to firstly modify the irrational beliefs of the antecedent and the consequences, in a more objective manner it is called ABC analysis ( A- antecedent , B- belief and C Consequence) this was a rational emotive therapy method by Albert Ellis positive psychologist.
I read this long time back it falls under the umbrella of cognitive therapy to treat maladaptive and dysfunctional cognitive structures.