Added: November 26, 2003 – Last updated: November 16, 2013


Author: Riki Van Boeschoten

Title: The Trauma of War Rape

Subtitle: A Comparative View on the Bosnian Conflict and the Greek Civil War

Journal: History and Anthropology

Volume: 14

Issue: 1

Year: March 2003

Pages: 41-54

ISSN: 0275-7206 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1477-2612 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | Bosnian History, Greek History | Types: Wartime Rape / Bosnian War, Greek Civil War


Link: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access)

Link: Center for German & European Studies, University of Minnesota (Free Access)


Author: Riki Van Boeschoten, Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology, University of


»This paper explores the practice and the political context of war rapes in the former Yugoslavia (1992-1995) and in the Greek Civil War (1946-1949). It argues that conceptions about accountability and expected gender roles may lead social actors to commit atrocities that transgress the moral codes of their own society, while condemning their victims to silence. On the other hand, a change in the political context may undermine the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators and ultimately lead war rape victims to break their silence and bear witness. This argument is illustrated by a detailed analysis of one particular interview, in which a woman raped during the Greek Civil War decided to break her silence fifty years after the event. The interview material offers the opportunity to explore the effects of trauma and the multiple ways in which war rape victims may try to cope with past trauma and give meaning to a shattered life.« (Source: History and Anthropology)

»A comparison of the practice and political context of war rapes in the conflict in the former Yugoslavia between 1992 and 1995 and in the Greek civil war between 1946 and 1949 shows similarities in how the construction of ethnic identity and expectations about gender roles can determine the actions of perpetrators and the reactions of victims, including silence, shame, suicide, or a quest for revenge. Rape in Bosnia was used more systematically as a weapon of war, partly because of the influence of the mass media, but on the other hand the prevalence of human rights discourse made victims more willing to speak out and bear witness. Detailed analysis of an interview with a woman raped in the Greek civil war and breaking her silence many years later provides some guidelines on how interviews may be conducted both with respect to dealing with trauma and to oral history.« (Source: Historical Abstracts)


  War Rapes in the Greek Civil War (p. 43)
  Mass War Rapes in Bosnia (p. 44)
  From the Side of the Victims (p. 46)
  Breaking the Silence and the Importance of Memory (p. 47)
  Concluding Remarks (p. 51)
  Notes (p. 52)
  References (p. 53)

Wikipedia: Bosnian War, Rape in the Bosnian War, Greek Civil War, War rape