Ethnic belonging of the children born out of rape in post-conflict Bosnia-Herzegovina and Rwanda

Marie-eve Hamel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Sexual violence has been used as a weapon of war in ethnic conflicts, and forced impregnations have been central to this strategy. Scholars however disagree on whether the cultural assimilation to the maternal group influence these children’s identities, or whether they are perceived as belonging to the enemy group (Carpenter, 2010; Nikolic-Ristanovic, 1996). Drawing on preliminary qualitative findings collected in 2013 in Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina, this paper analyses the ethnic identification imposed by the enemy group, the mothers and their community on the children born out of rape. It first explores how the mothers’ ethnic identities are often erased, imposing on their children the fathers’ ethnic background, and how this then justifies their social exclusion from their maternal ethnic group. This paper suggests that sexual violence is extremely effective in ensuring the continuation of the ethnic conflict in the aftermath of the violence by attacking the children’s senses of belonging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-304
JournalNations and Nationalism
Volume22
Issue number2
Early online date18 Feb 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • belonging
  • children born out of rape
  • ethnicity
  • postconflict

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