Added: September 5, 2015 – Last updated: September 5, 2015


Author: Jessica Alison Hubbard

Title: Breaking the Silence

Subtitle: Women's Experiences With Sexual Violence During the 1994 Rwandan Genocide

Thesis: M.Sc. Thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Year: April 2007

Pages: v + 102pp.

Language: English

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


Link: VTechWorks: Virginia Tech Institutional Repository (Free Access)


Abstract: »In times of war, women are subjected to sexual abuse that is largely ignored by military organizations, media outlets, and international courts. Existing literature has illustrated how wartime rape was accepted or dismissed in the past, and how today, while this practice continues, international courts are beginning to identify the harm being done to women, making explicit how rape is used as a tool of genocide. In this thesis I argue that wartime rape serves as a means of genocide, a way to eliminate a group of individuals and their culture. A recent example of how rape worked as genocide is seen in the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Rape was used as a systematic policy to destroy a group of people, the Tutsi, through torture and the spreading of AIDS. The purpose of this research is to examine genocidal rape from the perspectives of women who were raped in Rwanda during the genocide. The focus is on gaining insight to wartime rape as a form of genocide and the aftermath of rape on the women and the culture within which it occurred. Qualitative, feminist analysis was used to answer the following research questions: How do women raped in the Rwandan genocide describe and explain their experiences with rape and its aftermath? How did the intersection of gender and ethnicity contribute to violence against women during the genocide? What are the implications of rape for the women who experienced it and for their families, communities, and their cultural group?« (Source: Thesis)


  Abstract (p. ii)
  Acknowledgments (p. iii)
  Chapter 1: Problem Statement (p. 1)
  Chapter 2: Definitions (p. 5)
    Genocide (p. 5)
    Rape and Sexual violence (p. 6)
    Mass rape versus genocidal rape - debates in the Literature (p. 7)
  Chapter 3: Overview of Rwandan History (p. 14)
    Background (p. 14)
    Hutu/Tutsi definitions and debates (p. 15)
    Colonialism (p. 16)
    Rwandan Revolution of 1959 (p. 18)
    December 1963 - January 1964 (p. 19)
    1973 Coup d'etat (p. 19)
    Economic Problems (p. 20)
    Politics (p. 21)
    October War (p. 22)
    Arusha Peace Accords (p. 22)
    1994 Genocide (p. 24)
    Ethnocity Debates in Rwanda (p. 25)
  Chapter 4: Literature review on wartime rape (p. 29)
    Examples of rape in war - Historically and contemporary (p. 29)
    Reporting rape (p. 33)
    War Rape in International Law (p. 34)
    Women's Silence and International Law (p. 36)
    Justice for women in Rwanda (p. 37)
  Chapter 5: Feminist Theory (p. 39)
  Chapter 6: Methods (p. 44)
    Research Approach (p. 44)
    Data (p. 45)
    Representation in Feminist Research (p. 46)
    Analysis (p. 48)
    Coding (p. 50)
  Chapter 7: Biographies (p. 55)
  Chapter 8: Multiple Dimensions of Rape (p. 60)
    Choices (p. 60)
    Group Rape (p. 63)
    Acquaintance Rape (p. 67)
  Chapter 9: Gender (p. 69)
    Women's Participation in the Genocide (p. 69)
    Importance of Gender in Genocide (p. 70)
    Marriage (p. 73)
  Chapter 10: Intersection of Physical, Emitional, and Economic (p. 78)
    Emotional Consequences (p. 78)
    Physical Consequences (p. 80)
    Economic Consequences (p. 84)
  Chapter 11: Conclusion and Discussion (p. 86)
    Function of rape in war (p. 86)
    Genocidal Rape (p. 91)
  References (p. 96)

Wikipedia: History of Rwanda; Genocidal rape: Rape during the Rwandan Genocide, Rwandan Genocide