Added: June 4, 2016 – Last updated: June 4, 2016


Author: Valerie Nicole Wieskamp

Title: Sexual Violence and the U.S. Military

Subtitle: The Melodramatic Mythos of War and Rhetoric of Healing Heroism

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, Indiana University

Advisor: Robert Terrill

Year: 2015

Pages: vi + 253pp.

OCLC Number: 913485499 – Find a Library: WorldCat | OCLC Number: 949665992 – Find a Library: WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century, 21st Century | American History: U.S. History | Types: Wartime Rape / Second World War, Vietnam War, "War on Terror"


Link: IUScholarWorks: Digital Repository of the Indiana University Libraries (Restricted Access)


Author: Valerie Wieskamp, Department of Communication, Appalachian State

Abstract: »In this project, I examine the rhetorical patterns that silence or expose wartime sexual assault in U.S. culture from World War II, the Vietnam War, and the contemporary War on Terror. Through rhetorical analysis of military rhetoric, film, journalism, and photography, I argue that institutional narratives deploy rape as a political trope by exploiting narratives of sexual abuse in ways that promote war and inhibit justice for survivors. These narratives are patterned by a "melodramatic frame," which emphasizes feminine vulnerability and racialized villainy to construct a heroic national identity. By depicting sexual violence as a crime committed by inherently deviant individuals rather than a byproduct of institutionalized patriarchal norms, the melodramatic frame privileges individualism over collectivity. I then juxtapose this institutional discourse with resistant voices found personal narratives, dissent, and advocacy efforts that counter the melodramatic frame. Not only do these narratives further critique melodrama by demonstrating its inadequacy in capturing the complexity of material experiences, but they also provide effective rhetorical models that invite us to see the cultural and systemic factors that exacerbate wartime sexual violence. These resistant discourses demonstrate what I call a "healing heroism," which challenges melodramatic tendencies toward caricature and polarization. In doing so, they unsettle harmful gender and racial norms by reimagining notions of vulnerability, heroism, and villainy.« (Source: IUScholarWorks)

Wikipedia: History of the Americas: History of the United States | Types of rape: Wartime sexual violence / United States war crimes | War Vietnam War, War on Terror, World War II