"Invisible victims?": male rape and other forms of sexual violence against men in armed conflict

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Gorris, Ellen Anna Philo
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In this thesis the author has explored relevant legal and human security frameworks specifically covering wartime sexual violence to assess the position, protection or visibility of the relatively ‘silent’ victim group of male victims. It was found that in the current instruments, the visible victims are ‘women and girls’. They are often included explicitly in legal and policy provisions, thereby seemingly excluding male victims. However, many reports substantiate significant male victimization of wartime sexual violence. The apparent female-focused approach has programmatic implications for male victims, who are under-recognized and under-protected. The instruments in place follow traditional gender roles, where men are conceptualized as aggressive perpetrators and women as non-violent victims, being traditional notions of hegemonic masculinity and heterosexuality. The existing serious dichotomy between visible and invisible victims is prominently based on their ‘gender identity’ and leads to structural discrimination of, for instance, male victims of rape or other forms of sexual violence. To overcome this situation and develop more inclusive instruments, it is advised to reconceptualise the meaning and use of words like ‘gender’, ‘gender perspective’ and ‘gender dimension’. Additionally, a more intersectional approach to sexual violence should be adopted, understanding that victims have a multitude of identities such as ethnicity or religious affiliation that make them particularly vulnerable to suffering.
Second semester University: Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest.
gender discrimination, male rape, sexual abuse of men