Artículo

ABOUT RAPE AND WAR: THE DEBATE IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

It can be said that the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina rather than an ethnic war, it had, in fact, redefined the ethno-national categories (Serbs, Croats, and Bosniacs) and reorganized the territory along these divisions. Besides the battles between soldiers at the front lines, several atrocities happen in other fields: homes, villages, cities, detention places, concentration camps, and the rape camps. This paper introduces the debate on rapes during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, also, the ways to understand them: as a war weapon, as an ethnic cleansing tool, as an attempt to extermination, as violence against women. Between the criticism of the patriarchal society and the problem of the ethnicization or nationalization of women, how do the women in Bosnia try to understand and dealt to what had happened to them? The feminist debate and the scholar one has attempted to examine rape as a sexual violence against women, placing themselves against the ways to classify these women as nationals or ethnic beings. But in a conflict labeled by ethnic categories, this approach to “the women victim of rape” – an expression itself criticized – has failed to achieve followers between these same women. The war, if it did not create the ethnical, it had in fact deepened the boundaries between the groups. The rape during the war was successful in this sense – although this word “successful” should not fit things as rape. To not understand it also in ethnic terms means to focus just on one side of the story, but to understand it in these terms make the differences a reality, a bodily reality, and, as such, a tool to the maintenance of fear and division. This paper will present the debate, especially that posed by some feminists and academic women, and the women in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially the ones organized in the associations “Woman - victim of war” (Žena - žrtva rata) and “Woman victims of war from Republika Srpska” (Udruženje Žena žrtava rata Republike Srpske).
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