On SAGE Insight: Sexual violence in Iraq: Challenges for transnational feminist politics

From European Journal of Women’s Studies

Recent developments in Iraq, in neighboring Syria and elsewhere in the region where the so-called Islamic State ( ISIS/Daesh) has taken foothold, clearly raise the bar in terms of dehumanizing atrocities. The accounts of survivors of sexual violence at the hands of ISIS are beyond horrific. However, sexual violence, as we are witnessing now, did not emerge in a vacuum; Iraqi women and men were confronted with sexual and broader gender-based violence pre-invasion. The article discusses sexual violence by ISIS against women in Iraq, particularly Yezidi women, against the historical background of broader sexual and gender-based violence. It intervenes in feminist debates about how to approach and analyze sexual and wider gender-based violence in Iraq specifically and the Middle East more generally.

Abstract

Recent developments in Iraq, in neighbouring Syria and elsewhere in the region where the so-called Islamic State (known as ISIS as well as Daesh)1 has taken foothold, clearly raise the bar in terms of dehumanizing atrocities. The accounts of survivors of sexual violence at the hands of ISIS are beyond horrific. However, sexual violence, as we are witnessing now, did not emerge in a vacuum; Iraqi women and men were confronted with sexual and broader gender-based violence2 pre-invasion Iraq and, as well as in the post-invasion period. against the historical background of broader sexual and gender-based violence. It intervenes in feminist debates about how to approach and analyse sexual and wider gender-based violence in Iraq specifically and the Middle East more generally. Recognizing the significance of positionality, the article argues against dichotomous positions and for the need to look at both macrostructural configurations of power pertaining to imperialism, neoliberalism and globalization on the one hand, and localized expressions of patriarchy, religious interpretations and practices and cultural norms on the other hand. Finally, the article reflects on the question of what a transnational feminist solidarity might look like in relation to sexual violence by ISIS.

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Article details
Nadje Al-Ali
Sexual violence in Iraq: Challenges for transnational feminist politics
European Journal of Women’s Studies 1350506816633723, first published on March 1, 2016 doi:10.1177/1350506816633723

     
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