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Rape Warfare

The Hidden Genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia

1996
Author:

Beverly Allen

Rape Warfare

A shocking and impassioned exposé of new and horrifying methods of war in the Balkans.

Allen provides a compelling testimony and analysis of the horrifying phenomenon of “a military policy of rape for the purpose of genocide.” She examines the complexity of identity in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia through the accounts of rape/death camp survivors and those who work to help them. By turns personal, polemical, and informative, Rape Warfare is a lucid guide for anyone seeking to make sense of what is happening in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.

Rape Warfare is a passionate, moving, informative, and personal account of the complex history and contemporary mass femicidal and genocidal campaign by the Serbs against the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. Informed by a feminist perspective, Allen highlights the murderous misogyny coupled with rabid nationalism behind the rape/death camp—just one manifestation of a military policy of rape for the purpose of genocide. She also outlines the many ways in which individuals and governments can help to end this second 20th century holocaust in Europe. Invaluable. A must-read book for everyone concerned or confused about the atrocities that continue to be perpetrated daily in that region of the world.

Diana E. H. Russell, author of The Politics of Rape

In 1992, Beverly Allen learned of the existence of rape/death camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia from a former student, a woman of Croatian heritage. In these camps, women were-and are still-being detained and raped repeatedly by Serbian soldiers, whose goal often is to impregnate their victims or to torture them before they are killed. In this highly personal account, Beverly Allen provides a compelling testimony and analysis of the horrifying phenomenon of “a military policy of rape for the purpose of genocide.”

In Rape Warfare, Allen examines the complexity of identity in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia through the accounts of rape/death camp survivors and those who work to help them. She then presents and analyzes the information she has gathered about genocidal rape, all the while asking, “How can I, an empathizing outsider, communicate what is happening without reinforcing the damage that has already been done?” In a nuanced discussion of the ethics of representing such atrocities, she decides to “forgo storytelling except when the stories I tell are my own.” Allen concludes with an impassioned argument for bringing to trial the perpetrators of genocidal rape. By turns personal, polemical, and informative, Rape Warfare is a lucid guide for anyone seeking to make sense of what is happening in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.

Beverly Allen has spoken out in newspapers and on television and radio to raise awareness of rape/death camps. In Rape Warfare, she writes, “Every time I meet another woman who has survived, or who is helping the survivors, or who is struggling to articulate the horror the survivors and the dead have suffered and to prevent its recurrence, my own anger and grave distress turn toward hope.”

Rape Warfare

Beverly Allen teaches Italian, French, women’s studies, and comparative literature at Syracuse University, where she is also the director of the humanities doctoral program.

Rape Warfare

Rape Warfare is a passionate, moving, informative, and personal account of the complex history and contemporary mass femicidal and genocidal campaign by the Serbs against the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. Informed by a feminist perspective, Allen highlights the murderous misogyny coupled with rabid nationalism behind the rape/death camp—just one manifestation of a military policy of rape for the purpose of genocide. She also outlines the many ways in which individuals and governments can help to end this second 20th century holocaust in Europe. Invaluable. A must-read book for everyone concerned or confused about the atrocities that continue to be perpetrated daily in that region of the world.

Diana E. H. Russell, author of The Politics of Rape

If you’re a feminist planning to read one book about the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, read Beverly Allen’s. It’s a monument to scholarship on women’s issues written in lucid, luminous prose. Allen gives us a searing look at the rape camps.

Mary Karr, author of The Liar’s Club

Beverly Allen’s Rape Warfare is a relentlessly researched and passionately argued document, decisively refuting the claim that the atrocities of the Bosnian War are no more than the usual unintended consequences of any war. She demonstrates that, on the contrary, Serb army leaders devised the strategy of systematic terror, based on the rape and murder of women, even before the fighting began. Ms. Allen’s evidence is overpowering, from the texts of those secret meetings, to the voices of the women who suffered from this evil and the world’s indifference.

Tobias Wolff, author of This Boy’s Life and In Pharaoh’s Army

Beverly Allen’s book Rape Warfare is an impressive account of the most bestial crime in recent history: the systematic mass rape of Bosnian women in the genocidal Serb campaign of ‘ethnic cleansing’ in 1992-95. Professor Allen takes us on a unique emotional journey from the wounded souls of the victims of genocide to the darkest corners of the minds of those who perpetrated these crimes and also those who ordered and orchestrated the campaign of humiliation. This is a powerful, well-documented testimony before the War Crimes Tribunal of humankind.

Kemal Kurspahic, Oslobodjenje (Bosnian daily newspaper, Sarajevo)

A personally and politically authoritative inquiry into modern war crimes. Allen provides a general and informative map to decoding ethnic relations and a specific and essential outline of genocidal rape.

Kirkus

In this chilling and well-wrought account, Allen examines ethnic cleansing from analytical and empirical perspectives. Recommended for all who hope to make sense of the war in Bosnia and are ready to take action.

Library Journal

Beverly Allen presents an impassioned, well argued account of the purposeful military strategy designed by leaders of the Serbian army to destroy the non-Serbian population of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. For those who want to better understand the conflict and genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina, this book is a must read!

Refugee Review

A well-written book that ably documents its charges.

Peace and Change

Rape Warfare is a compelling book and should be read by all military officers who will serve or are serving overseas. Rape Warfare calls for actions to help survivors, judge perpetrators and guard against future genocidal rape so we can move toward justice and peace in our disordered world.

Military Review

Allen explains the twisted logic by which perpetrators consider the act as canceling the victim's cultural identity. If the victim is impregnated, so the theory goes, the offspring is nothing less than ‘a little Serb soldier.’ Allen urgently argues that the U.N.'s International Criminal Tribunal must prosecute the perpetrators of pregnancyaimed rape as a crime of biological warfare. Her self-consciously feminist book, documenting the mass scale of rapes at some 30 concentration camps, is shockingly effective.

Publishers Weekly

Rape Warfare is a compelling book and a necessary read for all military officers who will serve or are serving abroad. This book's detailed descriptions make the reader extremely uncomfortable as well as more knowledgeable about rape warfare. Rape Warfare calls for actions that will aid survivors, judge the perpetrators, and do what is required to guard against the atrocity of genocidal rape in the future. Otherwise, as Dr. Allen writes, we will never move towards any new formulations of justice and peace in our disordered world.

Airpower Journal

A valuable contribution to a field which needs further exploration. Allen makes a strong case for the argument that rape, when used to make the conquered woman pregnant, is compatible with the psychology of genocide.

Journal of Peace Research