On the Battlefield of Women's Bodies: An Overview of the Harm of War to Women

H. Patricia Hynes January 1, 2004 United States Download Attachment

Women and girls are deliberately targeted and disproportionately harmed by war and its aftermath.

ABSTRACT


By the 1990s, 9 of 10 people who died in war from direct and indirect effects were civilians. Bombs and weapons of modern war kill and maim civilian women in equal numbers to civilian men. A unique harm of war for women is the trauma inflicted in military brothels, rape camps, and the growing sex trafficking for prostitution and by increased domestic violence, all of which is fueled by the culture of war, male aggression, and the social and economic ruin left in the wake of war. Widows of war, women victims of landmines, and women refugees of war are particularly vulnerable to poverty, prostitution, the extortion of sex for food by post-war peacekeepers, and higher illness and death in the post-conflict period. While problems exist with definitions and methods of measurement, a full accounting of the harm of war to civilian women is needed in the debate over whether war is justified.