Women as Wartime Rapists

Beyond Sensation and Stereotyping

320 pages

November, 2016

ISBN: 9780814771402



Add to Cart Available: 10/21/2016

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Laura Sjoberg is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. She is the author of several books, including Gendering Global Conflict and, with Caron Gentry, Beyond Mothers, Monsters, and Whores.

All books by Laura Sjoberg

Women as Wartime Rapists reveals the stories of female perpetrators of sexual violence and their place in wartime conflict, legal policy, and the punishment of sexual violence. 
Very few women are wartime rapists. Very few women issue commands to commit sexual violence. Very few women play a role in making war plans that feature the intentional sexual violation of other women. This book is about those very few women. More broadly, Laura Sjoberg asks, what do the actions and perceptions of female perpetrators of sexual violence reveal about our broader conceptions of war, violence, sexual assault, and gender?

This book explores specific historical case studies, such as Nazi Germany, Serbia, the contemporary case of ISIS, and others, to understand how and why women participate in rape during war and conflict. Sjoberg examines the contrast between the visibility of female victims and the invisibility of female perpetrators, as well as the distinction between rape and genocidal rape, which is used as a weapon against a particular ethnic or national group. Further, she explores women’s engagement with genocidal rape and how some orchestrated the ethnic cleansing of entire regions. A provocative approach to a sensationalized topic, Women as Wartime Rapists offers important insights into not only the topic of female perpetrators of wartime sexual violence, but to larger notions of gender and violence with crucial cultural, legal, and political implications.


  • "In this groundbreaking book, Sjoberg provides the first comprehensive account of women perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict. Sjoberg’s nuanced account not only breaks new ground theoretically but also provides a way forward for policy makers to better recognize how femininities along with masculinities perpetuate wartime sexual violence. This book transforms our understanding of sexual violence in conflict and is a must read for students, academics, lawyers, judges and gender justice advocates alike.”

    —Louise Chappell, author of The Politics of Gender Justice at the International Criminal Court

  • "Women as Wartime Rapists is a compelling, provocative read. The book upends established orthodoxies and forces the reader to engage with new and compelling analysis on the critical importance, in theory and practice, of seeing women as perpetrators of wartime rape. Sjoberg takes no prisoners and provides analytical clarity and rare insight into this highly disputed terrain. Highly accessible, the book makes gender in war a tangible and visible phenomenon. This book does not take shortcuts; it is layered, logical and compelling. Laura Sjoberg deserves much credit for intellectual risk-taking unending common wisdom."

    —Fionnuala Ni Aolain, co-author of On the Frontlines: Gender, War and the Post-Conflict Process