1st Edition

Silenced Victims of Wartime Sexual Violence

By Olivera Simic Copyright 2018
    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    The condemnation of wartime sexual violence as a gross violation of human rights has received widespread support. While rape and other forms of sexual violence have attracted considerable local and international attention, this often excludes wartime sexual violence among women belonging to so-called ‘perpetrator’ war-torn nations. This book explores the silence surrounding women’s experiences of wartime sexual violence within academic, legal and public discourses. Olivera Simić argues that the international criminal law and feminist legal discourse on wartime sexual violence can construct a problematic victim hierarchy that excludes and misrecognises certain women’s experiences of sexual violence during and after armed conflict.

     The book focuses on the experiences of Bosnian Serb women, where the collapse of the former Yugoslavia led to brutal war and gross human rights violations throughout the 1990s. Two decades after the war, women in Bosnia and Herzegovina are still facing the legacies of the violence in the 1990s. Through this case Simić argues that while all women survivors of rape face problems of stigma, shame and lack of political visibility, their legal and symbolic status differ according to their ethno-national identity.

     Drawing on interviews with Bosnian Serb women survivors of rape in Bosnia and Herzegovina, feminist activists, local media, documentary and archival sources, the book examines ‘post-conflict justice’ as it is seen, lived and interpreted by women who belong to ‘perpetrator’ nations and will be of great interest and use to researchers, students and practitioners within post-conflict law and justice, international criminal law, security studies and gender studies.

    Introduction: Disrupting the Legacy of Mass Rape in Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Chapter 1: Conflict-Related Sexual Violence and its ‘Silences’

    Chapter 2: Revisiting Mass Rape in Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Chapter 3: Ethnic Politicisation of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

    Chapter 4: Becoming a Victim in Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Chapter 5: The Women’s Court in Sarajevo: Challenges and Reflections

    Chapter 6: The Role of Civil Society in Assisting Women Victims of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

    Chapter 7: The Politics of Writing/Researching the ‘Silenced’ Women


    Olivera Simić is a Senior Lecturer at the Griffith University Law School, Brisbane, Australia.