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Evolving Opinion of War:  Women as a Weapon

By:  Mac-Z Zurawski

This article was originally published on 11-20-2012 on the blogsite Middle East Tribune:

It has been updated with current information relevant in Central African Republic and Syria. 

Is all fair in love and war?  The Hague has the complex responsibility of turning genocidal atrocities into mere acts of war.  As we watch mortars, troops and bombs enter the Gaza Strip we may think it’s just Israel and the Palestinians at it again.  But what are they at again?  Is it really a fight over land or a fight of ideologies that may wipe out an entire people?  Centuries of war have taught us there will be high innocent casualties.  These casualties are exalted as innocent martyrs for the call for justice and peace.  At The Hague a very different emotion is attached to these martyrs as the heinous acts which killed them are displayed.  These acts including decapitation, torture, rape and murder of children and woman are not merely acts of war.  These acts are to eviscerate the enemy and their future generations.  Right?

In order to form my argument I researched what war and genocide were again.  Even though I know the general definitions I wondered if there is a difference? defines war as “a conflict carried on by force of arms, as between nations or between parties within a nation; warfare, as by land, sea, or air”. They define genocide as “the policy of deliberately killing a nationality or ethnic group”.  What is the difference?  There isn’t one.  War and genocide have the same intention of shutting out another nation, their people and resources to gain supreme ruler ship.  As we evolve as a human race we need to begin to change our view of war.  We need to realize that war is the intention of eviscerating our enemies to stop them from ever gaining any control of their country, population and future.  We can begin this by reviewing the history of women as weapons. Instead of looking at conflicts as war let’s see them for their genocidal results.  You choose what these examples are: war or genocide?

Crimes against Women are a Genocidal Methodology Called War

During the United States of America’s very early wars against Native Americans women were killed to eliminate future generations from being born.   These long years of war have made the Native American population one of the lowest in the United States and some of the poorest parts of our system. War or genocide?

Rape and sexual violence were a genocidal war method of the Hutu against the Tutsi and moderate Hutu women during the Rwandan genocide.  The public displays of rape and abuse of women were used to break the social and communal bonds of the Tutsi community.  If war is the ability for one side to devour the control and continuity of a community or nation why isn’t it considered genocide?  Devouring a nation’s procreative spirit through its women sounds like genocide. 

The Bosnian War (or genocide) used a systematic mass rape to debilitate the communities, families and procreation abilities of Bosnian and other women.  They created rape camps and public sources for committing rape.  Rape was used as a weapon against the morale of the communities and troops.  It also created a mass obstacle for men to leave their homes to fight against the Serbian forces.  This weapon debilitated an entire community of people, isn’t that genocide?

Currently, the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been focused upon violence against women (please review articles at  ).   This violence is similar to the previous examples of mass rape, torture and murder.  The violence is again used to humiliate and destabilize the familial bonds of families within this war torn country.  This weapon of war is forced upon communities to entice people to follow the leadership of the rebel army.  Is forcing war acts upon one sector of a people and then creating a micro war against women a war crime or genocide?  These women are the bearers of future generations and the caretakers of the current generations.  

Currently, the civil war/genocide between the Assad regime and Syrian people is another example.  The women of Syria are raped and tortured while their children are killed with chemical warfare.  The attacks are in specific regions of the country designated anti-Assad.  Over 7,500 women have been raped with almost 13,000 being killed since the beginning of the civil war (world bulletin).  The act of killing the children and child bearers is an act of genocide due to the future limitations that one race or ethnicity will endure. 

In the Central African Republic there are two sides of a story, Christian versus Muslim.  Between these two sides are the women and children being raped and murdered.  Since the late 1990’s there has been a systematic mass rape of women and young girls on both sides.  Schools have even been attacked so soldiers could rape school aged girls.  The conflict had settled down and has been reignited with more atrocious acts against women and children. 

The deliberate act of war against one people is an ethnic cleansing burdening women.  The great women of war are not always those that receive the Purple Heart.  They are the women who clean up the mess of war inside their families.  They are the women who bear more children and tend to the scarred hearts and minds of the ones that survive.  They are the living martyrs of war.  They are the invisible victims of genocide we still call war.  As we evolve as a human race, so must our opinions.  So must our thoughts on war and the crimes committed within these destructive times.  Women are our future generations and the caretakers of our current and past generations.  In order to stop creating more victims of genocide we must call it like we see it.  War is not a conflict for power.  It is a genocidal act to eliminate the current and future generations of people through harming women. 

Mac-Z Zurawski is an avid adult educator, writer, scholar and activist in the fields of political science and sociology. She uses her board memberships to create educational experiences.  Contact her at

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