Rape as a War Tactic in the Rwandan Genocide

explanatory Essay
2041 words
2041 words

“The sweetly sickening odor of decomposing bodies hung over many parts of Rwanda in July 1994: . . . at Nyarubuye in eastern Rwanda, where the cadaver of a little girl, otherwise intact, had been flattened by passing vehicles to the thinness of cardboard in front of the church steps,” (Deforges 6). The normalcy of horrible images like this one had cast a depressing gloom over Rwanda during the genocide, a time when an extreme divide caused mass killings of Tutsi by the Hutu. Many tactics such as physical assault or hate propaganda are well known and often used during times of war. Sexual assault and rape, however, during times of war is an unspoken secret – it is well known that rape occurs within combat zones and occupied territories, but people tend to ignore, or even worse, not speak of the act. There have been recorded cases of rape and sexual assault in almost every war in human history. Genocidal rape was used as a gendered war tactic in the Rwandan genocide in order to accomplish the Hutu goal of elimination of the Tutsi people in whole, or part.
The Rwandan genocide occurred due to the extreme divide between two main groups that were prevalent in Rwanda, the Hutu and the Tutsi. When Rwanda was first settled, the term Tutsi was used to describe those people who owned the most livestock. After the Germans lost control over their colonies after World War I, the Belgians took over and the terms Hutu and Tutsi took on a racial role (Desforges). It soon became mandatory to have an identification card that specified whether or not an individual was a Hutu, Tutsi, or Twa (a minority group in Rwanda). The Tutsi soon gained power through the grant of leadership positions by the Belgians. Later on when Rwanda was tying to gain indepe...

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...Rights Watch, 1999. Print.
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In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the normalcy of horrible images like this one had cast a depressing gloom over rwanda during the genocide.
  • Explains that the rwandan genocide occurred due to the extreme divide between two main groups prevalent in rwanda, the hutu and the tutsi.
  • Explains that the rwandan patriotic front (rpf) was organized by english-speaking children of tutsi refugees on october 1, 1990 and invaded the country from the north.
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