Sexual violence in the wrong(ed) bodies: moving beyond the gender binary in International Relations


8 September
2020

, Volume
96, Number
5

In the September issue of International Affairs, a section of articles reframe international debates around conflict-related sexual violence. 

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Paula Drumond

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Elizabeth Mesok

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Marysia Zalewski

In 2008, UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1820 recognized sexual violence as a matter of international peace and security, urging the creation of mechanisms for its prevention and response. Yet serious attention to conflict-related sexual violence occupies an ambiguous place in global politics. Even as the emergence of rape as a global threat has sharpened support for and receptiveness to the Women, Peace and Security agenda, feminist IR scholars have exposed how such attention contributes to the essentializing of women as victims and of victims as always women. The continuing focus on sexual violence as perpetrated on female-marked bodies, allegedly because of their gender and their ensuing place in gendered/sexed orders, has prompted critics to call for the development of more inclusive research and policy framings that transcend the male perpetrator/female victim paradigm.

This special section in the September 2020 issue of International Affairs aims to help move theorizations and policy debates around sexual violence beyond the gender binary, and beyond narratives and framings that are exclusively sex-centred. Each of the articles critically challenges the embedded imageries around sex/gender/sexuality that persistently guide knowledge and policy framings on gendered dimensions of violence and security. All are original and innovative contributions, working to expand the explanatory logics/grids of intelligibility of sexual violence through discussions of ‘wrong(ed)’ bodies.

Source: International Law and Governance

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