Added: June 14, 2014 – Last updated: June 14, 2014


Author: Amanda Victoor

Title: An 'Other' Woman's Rape

Subtitle: Abjection and Objection in Representations of War Rape Victims in the DRC

Thesis: M.A. Thesis, Queen's University

Year: February 2011 (Revised Edition)

Pages: vii + 128pp.

OCLC Number: 720174111 – Find a Library: WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century, 21st Century | Congolese History | Types: Wartime Rape / First Congo War, Second Congo War


Link: QSpace (Free Access)



»The growing global awareness of sexual violence as a weapon of war has been accompanied by the strategic and pervasive inclusion of women’s personal stories of war rape. This representational strategy of Western media, academia and humanitarian policies was critically examined in order to understand how war raped women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are discursively situated as “Other.” Drawing on the theoretical concepts of abjection and objection, the study did not question the truth of women’s experience but rather examined whether the pervasive inclusion of war rape stories constituted a true feminine subjectivity. A foucaldian notion of discourse provided a method to expose meaning and dominant discourses, which make certain identities and stories of war rape more visible than others. The purpose of this study was to critically engage with dominant Western discourses of war rape and provide a more complex understanding of how diverse power structures, identities and representational practices impact the struggle of Congolese women to open self-determined pathways of empowerment.
A qualitative method of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) was used to examine the textual and visual processes of representation. Samples of text were taken from three main areas: media coverage (print, television, web based magazines, and films), feminist academic literature (journals, reports and books), and humanitarian policies (UN mission reports, Security Council resolution, mandates and reports).
The results revealed that war rape victims, the DRC and acts of war rape were all positioned as “Other” and as a media spectacle that was further consumed by Western audiences. It was also found that certain war rape identities and social factors remained invisible, including the West’s complacency in the DRC conflict. Ultimately, the study finds a tension between discourse as a tool of liberation and a tool of power and control. This thesis recommends that anti rape activists must examine their own dominance over war rape victims and consider new strategies—beyond the simple act of storytelling—that will position rape victims as the subjects (not objects) of their own struggle to end war rape.« (Source: Thesis)


  Erratum Statement (p. ii)
  Abstract (p. iii)
  Acknowledgements (p. v)
  Chapter One - Introduction (p. 1)
    Case Study: War in the Democratic Republic of Congo (p. 4)
  Chapter Two: Situating Rape as a Weapon of War (p. 7)
    I. Theorizing Sexual Violence: A Shift from Peace to Wartime Rape (p. 8)
    II. Rape as a Weapon of War (p. 14)
      A) Rape as an Effective Military Weapon (p. 15)
      B) Rape to Terrorize Women, Men and the Community (p. 17)
      C) Rape to Inflict Shame on Women and Men (p. 18)
      D) Rape for the Purpose of Genocide (p. 20)
    III. Representing Rape Victims (p. 22)
      A) Terminology: Victims vs. Survivors (p. 22)
      B) Feminist Debates on Victimization (p. 23)
      C) The Silent and Invisible Victim (p. 26)
    IV. A Media Discourse of (Re)Victimization (p. 30)
    V. Rape in International Humanitarian Law (p. 32)
  Chapter Three - Framing an "Other" Woman's Rape: Feminine Subjectivity in War Rape Discourse (p. 35)
    I. A Discourse of Violence: Feminist in Theory, Foucauldian in Practice (p. 37)
    II. Discursive "Othering": Matter of Visibility (p. 41)
    III. Exploring Abjection: A Matter of Repulsion and Fasination (p. 43)
    IV. Objection in Representing the Other (p. 45)
    V. Othering the Third-World Woman (p. 49)
    VI. Recognizing the Need for Intersectionality (p. 50)
    VII. War Rape: A Case for Critical Discourse Analysis (p. 52)
  Chapter Four: A Discourse Analysis of Representations of Women's Stories of War Rape in the DRC (p. 55)
    Theme I: Othering Women, the DRC, and the Violence of War Rape (p. 56)
      A) Constructing the Raped Woman's Victimhood (p. 57)
      B) Constructing the Destroyed Rape Victim (p. 60)
      C) Constructing the Rape Victim's Shame (p. 62)
      D) The Raped Women as Abandoned and Stigmatized (p. 63)
      E) Shaming Women into Silence (p. 65)
      E) Rape Victims as Peace Builders (p. 69)
      F) The DRC as Abject: A Colonial Legacy (p. 70)
    Theme II: The Spectacle of War Rape: 'Shock and Awe' (p. 74)
      A) The Shock, Horror and Repulsion of War Rape (p. 75)
      b) War Rape as Spectacle; Fascination with the Abject (p. 79)
    Theme III: The Violence of Rhetoric - Silencing the Other (p. 87)
      A) Tracing Race and Class (p. 87)
      B) Silence Outside the Authentic Victim Model (p. 90)
      C) Ignoring the Experience of Everyday Violence (p. 91)
      D) Silencing the Economics of War (p. 93)
    A Gender Discourse with No Action: Who is this Serving? (p. 97)
  Chapter Five: Conclusions: "We Want You to Act Now!" (p. 101)
    I. Conclusions (p. 101)
      A) The Denial of Feminine Subjectivity - Woman as Other (p. 101)
      B) The Tension of Discourse: Controlling and Liberating (p. 101)
      C) War Rape as a Global Phenomenon (p. 102)
      D) First-World Complacency - Our Role in the Production of Violence (p. 103)
      E) Feminists and Development Activisim: Another Layer of Domination (p. 104)
    II. Contributions and Areas of Future Research (p. 104)
    III. Limitations (p. 106)
    IV. Final Analysis (p. 107)
  References (p. 109)
  Appendix 1 - Cover Girls: The Shamed and Silent Rape Victim (p. 128)

Edition: Victoor, Amanda. An 'Other' Woman's Rape: Abjection and Objection in Representations of War Rape Victims in the DRC. M.A. Thesis, Queen's University, 2010.

Wikipedia: First Congo War, Second Congo War, War rape