Human rights violations that occur when sexual violence is used as a weapon.
This article brings together available social science research on CSRV into two
categories: causes and outcomes. Overall, research is aimed to make a
significant progress in our understanding of the causes of CRSV, notably in 4
areas: purpose, context, individual motivations, and intra-group relations.
There is a need of understanding this from grass root levels considering the
Psycho-Social needs and other requirements as well.
Understanding the purpose and context
Brown miller in his study has very precisely conceptualised the basic psychology
behind using systematic rape as a weapon of vengeance by examining gender
relations in warzones and conflict areas. He argued that when women in times of
peace are considered as a possession of a man it gets amplified during war
Feminist research has maintained since its origin that men and women's
relationships are not equal, but rather hierarchical and patriarchal. Women are
traditionally viewed as men's possessions in this social framework. 'The
soldier becomes an adrenaline-rushed young guy with permission to kick in the
door, to seize, to steal, to give vent to his suppressed wrath against all women
who belong to other men,' writes Brown miller of the combat zone.
And, to my
surprise, this was seen during the Rwandan genocide and continues to be seen
now. Such mental constructs are the result of fundamental patriarchy, in which
masculinity is connected with power and authority, while femininity is
associated with submissiveness and vulnerability. Women are raped not because
they are adversaries, but because they are the targets of a deep-seated hatred
that pervades the collective psyche and manifests itself during times of
The judgement of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR),
which was the first in an international court to recognise rape as a form of
genocide, reaffirmed the idea that rape can be regarded an element of genocide.
Simply assuming that women are easy targets and thus victims does not eliminate
the antecedents of the rationale that policies and defining human rights for
them are still vague when the laws themselves do not provide them with a stable
social identity and a firm ground on which to stand up for their rights. Until
then, all we are doing is having pointless discussions.
Are women human? � International law and its ambiguity in granting equal status.
Mackinnon argues that current human rights law do not account for violations
of women rights with respect to rape, battering and pornography. She further
argues that state and international law are diluting women's rights in her book
she asks that if men saw women as human would they abuse them so often.
takes us to the notion of Aristotle and his idea of equality where he said
traditional concepts of rights assume that people have equal rights only insofar
as they are similar. There are some compacts that are present on papers but
sadly countries have failed to be its signatories for example convention on
elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW) it is something
that we have in framework to be implemented but it is not gaining as much
significance as it actually should, one of its weakness is also that its
preamble bases it in morality which is debateable. CEDAW never said that
inequalities and atrocities that exists upon women is a lie, that there is no
justification for it.
What can be done?
What bothers more is that international conventions and these treaties that aim
to protect women from violence are focusing merely on the tip of the ice berg,
it is too broad to be effective in terms of its practical applications. We
cannot dismantle systematic oppression in sea of diversity by just drafting few
pages that calls for prohibition. It requires more than this artificial
mechanism. Here is a small representation of how actually the human right
treaties are working-
Human rights cannot be safeguarded solely by campaigning against violence and
hostility, and other factors cannot be overlooked too selectively. I believe
that a plight of women is better understood by women, we need more women as
stakeholders when it comes to drafting conventions, speaking up for real issues
in assemblies and by that I mean inclusivity of women from all ethnic
backgrounds. Community interventions are important, state accountability is
important! International law is what we call positive morality at one point kits
effectiveness gets faded and there can be instances where it is completely
Psycho- social reforms
We see that human right laws need support of many other disciplines such as
psychological reinforcement to firstly modify the irrational beliefs of the
antecedent and the consequences, in a more objective manner it is called ABC
analysis ( A- antecedent , B- belief and C � Consequence) this was a rational
emotive therapy method by Albert Ellis positive psychologist.
I read this long time back it falls under the umbrella of cognitive therapy to
treat maladaptive and dysfunctional cognitive structures.
From here I see
society and an individual a comparative study with maladaptive thoughts that
needs to be modified with help of psycho social intervention. Let's take it this
way with a hypothetical explanation: A man X believes that women are slaves and
they must be subjected to oppression, this is clearly an example of irrational
thought that mediates between his antecedent and consequences.
this man X we get to know that his father had two wives and he considered them
mere object by mistreating them this fact is the causing factor of X's
irrational belief and it must be replaced by rational thoughts else the
consequences will be hostility, abuse and violence towards women. It will
further take cognitive reinforcements and such measures that leads to change in
his thoughts gradually. When we look at how males across different cultures
regard women, we see one common structure: inferiority.
The reasons for their
unequal treatment of women vary depending on diversity and individual
variations, but I'd like to point out another common structure: patriarchy.
Human rights and international law must carry out this social experiment by
focusing on women's protection.
This collective consciousness are rigid
structures shattering them overnight is not possible but there are some rational
solutions in front of us that can be implemented, gender screening when it comes
to equality must be prohibited via campaigns and cognitive restructuring ideas.
Unfortunate but true that we have to teach this very basic concept of Women and
men are species of same genus that is humankind. It's the cultures and local
mores that label one weak therefore they must be the target first.
Psycho- Legal reforms
- Human rights activist at local levels must be encouraged for the
greatest good of society these NGOS and civil societies are agents of
international law more funding and importance should be given to them.
- One reason why majority societies oppress women is because lack of their
visibility in important public spheres like education, politics and media.
These spheres must be made more inclusive.
- Primary education is critical in ensuring that the fundamentals of our
education convey the correct principles. Vygotsky and Piaget Two Russian
psychologists proposed that children's cognitive organisation occurs during
their early formative years. If we want to ensure that future generations' human
rights are protected, we must create new structures and patterns for them that
are far healthier, gender neutral, and culturally equitable. Gender
representation in textbooks are very crucial.
- Human rights legislation awareness: Many women and children in rural and
developing nations are unaware of their fundamental human rights, and as a
result, most of their transgressions go unrecognised even by themselves.
John Austin rightly said that law is the command of the sovereign backed up by
sanction, human rights violations must have strict consequences. Psycho legal
reforms are more dynamic measures that are interdisciplinary in nature. Because
of weak state legislation and a lack of international engagement, the practise
of systematic rape in Rwanda normalised the crime as a purely vengeful
instrument, further depriving victims of justice.
Here are some suggestions for
closing existing loopholes:
Academic and research reforms
- Since international law and the human rights arena are still emerging
and forming a definite framework, it's critical to identify parties who can
be held accountable for state-level human rights violations in order to
secure their enforceability. Delegation of power in a systematic order can
help human rights and international law work better
- Introducing women from various ethnic backgrounds to talk about human
rights violations and concerns on behalf of other women enduring atrocities
at regional, state, and worldwide levels. It is critical to remember that
these female leaders must be protected by the state, which will be held
accountable to international chief organisations if anything goes wrong.
- Treaties and policies in international law exist only on paper, with no
actual implementation, and so are not properly enforced. Either parties
decline to sign or only a few of them do so in order to follow the process.
The apex authorities should have more capacity to enforce these treaties in
the actual world.
- History gives us an evidence as to how the struggles and torment of CRSV victims were neglected and no justice was provided to them, the Human
rights victim compensation schemes an initiative to provide relief to the
victims. Further provisions for institutional care and individualised treatment
that give occupational and vocational trainings can be incorporated in legal
- Victim compensation schemes should not be restricted to monetary
compensation; they should also include psychological support. CRSV sometimes
includes unseen victims, such as adult men, who do not seek justice due to
prejudices and a fear of additional humiliation. Sexual violence victims are
more likely to develop psychological problems such as post-traumatic stress
disorder, anxiety, and depression as a result of the conflict. In such cases, a
trauma centre or emotional rehabilitation centre with psychiatric care and
assistance is required.
There is universal agreement that social science research has contributed little
to the resolution of societal issues. The notion that social science is best
suited to develop answers is common in these assessments, while in fact, it may
be better suited to investigate how issues arise in the first place.
Conducting study in these areas allows for social experiments and natural
observations that can aid in the creation of laws and policies. It can also
result in identifying some hidden variables and causes that have never been
observed before, conducting interviews , recording and analysing testimonies,
participating in natural observations and recording the outcomes can improve the
quality of laws and further it will facilitate the international bodies and
state to understand things better and more closely.
Not that existing treaties
and laws should be repealed entirely, but policies that affect people's behaviour and psychology should be considered. Policies that not only seek for
but also enforce specific rights for women, with repercussions if they are
infringed anything else would be a mockery to the suffering of victims.
to an end point where the question is that are international bodies more likely
the nation States to understand the magnitude of crime against women and to stop
them? If international law and national laws come together to see crime against
women as crime against humanity, and understand that women are not tool of
vengeance or oppression but humans with equal rights as men our long battle of
equality might slightly begin to end.
- Niarchos, C. N. Women, War, and Rape: Challenges Facing the
International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Human Rights Quarterly,
17(4), 649-690. http://www.jstor.org/stable/762485 (1995).
- Vol. 37, No. 1, Carol Anne Douglas, Review: Are Women Human? And other
international dialogues Reviewed Work: Are Women Human? By Catharine A.
MacKinnon, pp. 73-76 (4 pages), Off Our Backs (2007)
- Karl E. Weick , Small Wins Redefining the Scale of Social Problems, Cornell
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Tanisha Sharma -
4th year, Delhi metropolitan education, GGSIPU
Authentication No: FB205461938174-22-0222