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Sexual violence against women in civil wars: an analysis of Yugoslavian Civil War

Özel, Gülen
In this thesis, the systematic usage of sexual violence towards women as a weapon during the Yugoslavian Civil War is analyzed. The study attempts to underline the role of gender identities of women during the Civil War as a means for the victimization of women through sexual violence, especially mass rapes. It is argued that with the disintegration of Yugoslavia, as men clashed for power, the portrayal of women as “mothers” and “carriers” of the nation under the nationalistic discourse caused these women to become the primary targets of the war. It is also argued that the primary aim of rape as a weapon of ethnic cleansing during the war was to destroy the harmony and unity of the enemy by dishonoring and violating their women.