Edgren 2012 Våld

Title Information

Author: Monika Edgren

Title: Sexuellt våld i vittnessberättelser om massakern på armenier 1915-1916

Subtitle: -

Translation: Sexual violence in eye-witness accounts of the Armenian Genocide, 1915–16

Journal: Scandia: Tidskrift för historisk forskning

Volume: 78

Issue: 2

Year: 2012

Pages: 87-117

ISSN: 0036-5483 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: Swedish

Keywords: 20th Century | Turkish History | Types: Genocidal Rape / Armenian Genocide

Full Text

Link: Lunds universitet (Free Access)

Additional Information

Author: Monika Edgren, Fakulteten för kultur och samhälle (Faculty of Culture and Society), Malm¨ högskola (Malmö University)


»In feminist research, sexual violence in conflict is increasingly the object of problematizing analyses. Supported by this growing body of knowledge, conflict research avoids reproducing the gendered discourses of power that lie at the root of the violence. It is also a matter of interpreting accounts of sexual violence in a historical perspective. The ‘Blue Book’, an official British government publication about Turkey’s Armenian Genocide (1915–16), invites a critical reading of sexual violence in accounts of war. Sexual violence against women and girls is an all-pervading theme in the Blue Book’s eyewitness accounts.
In this study, I consider not only the source’s function and the signification of eyewitness accounts, but also their narrative content and meaning in a feminist perspective. The source’s function was to inform and to urge people to action to halt the Turkish massacres of Armenians. According to the Blue Book’s editors, the witness testimony was from respectable people who could vouch for its truth, as borne out by the fact that witnesses reported the same things independently of one another. I show that some of the testimony reproduces others’ accounts, made valid by the witnesses’ personal status. In the discussion, I contend that witness accounts demand a more sophisticated analysis than traditional historical source criticism can offer. For example, the dependency criterion pays no heed to the discursive orders of what could be said, or, likewise, how accounts were framed by patriarchal and ethnicized discourses.
The narrative analysis is here structured by three themes: the objectification of women, discourses of shame, and silence. Accounts of despicable crimes position women as defenceless members of a minority who should evoke our pity, but which brings an objectification of the victims and a dehumanization and culturalization of the enemy. It is the suffering of the people that is the focus. Women’s suffering is the people’s suffering, which blocks out gendered power and even women’s resistance. The enemy’s appetite for beauty and virginity is structured as a discourse of shame. The witness accounts subscribe to the idea that femininity must be curbed and hidden if it is not to arouse desire. In the discourse of shame, women are positioned in a cultural context as belonging to one people and one man. Silence can be explained by the pain being beyond all description, but in the article I also argue that it is an effect of patriarchal discourses of women’s purity and innocence, within which women were not expected to be aware of sexual power. I also discuss silence as a question of interaction. Speaking requires listening.« (Source: Scandia)


  Rapportering om sexuellt våld i krig (p. 89)
  Feministisk forskning om sexuellt våld i krig och konflikter (p. 91)
  Massakern och dess kontext (p. 93)
  Källan: blåboken (p. 94)
  Om vittnesberättelser i blåboken (p. 96)
  Vittnesberätelser om det sexuella våldet (p. 98)
    Objektifiering av kvinnor och kulturalisering av den manliga fienden (p. 98)
    Skamdiskurser i vittnesberättelser (p. 103)
    Om tystnad (p. 108)
  Avslutning (p. 111)
  Noter (p. 113)

Wikipedia: Genocidal rape: Armenian Genocide, Rape during the Armenian Genocide

Added: November 15, 2014 – Last updated: November 15, 2014