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Stop Rape Now? Masculinity, Responsibility, and Conflict-related Sexual Violence

Grey, R. and L. J. Shepherd (2012). “Stop Rape Now? Masculinity, Responsibility, and Conflict-related Sexual Violence.” Men and Masculinities.
Inspired by the themes of violence, masculinity and responsibility, this article investigates the visibility of male victims/survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in war. Despite the passing of UNSCR 1820 in 2008, the formulation of UN ACTION (United Nations Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict), and the appointment of a United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General to lead policy and practice in this issue area, we argue here that male survivors/victims remain a marginal concern, which has, among other consequences, profound implications for the facilities that exist to support male victims/survivors during and after periods of active conflict. In the first section of the article, we provide an overview of the contemporary academic literature on rape in war, not only to act as the foundation for the analytical work that follows but also to illustrate the argument that male survivors/victims of sexualised violence in war are near-invisible in the majority of literature on this topic. Second, we turn our analytical lens to the policy environment charged with addressing sexualised violence in conflict. Through a discourse analysis focussed on the website of UN ACTION (www.stoprapenow.org), we demonstrate that this lack of vision in academic work maps directly to a lack of visibility in the policy arena. The third section of the article explores the arrangements in place within extant peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction programmes that aim to facilitate recovery with victims/survivors of sexualised violence in war. We conclude with reflections on the themes of violence, masculinity and responsibility in the context of sexualised violence in war and suggest that in this context all privileged actors have a responsibility to theorise violence with careful attention to gender in order to avoid perpetuating models of masculinity and war-rape that have potentially pernicious effects.


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