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I being the citizen or some might want to call it as “Second Citizen” of this big country have never felt safe whilst walking on the streets all by myself at an oddly hour, I wouldn’t dare to leave my house post 11:00 PM, If I am not sure of the my drop offs. I would always make sure that I share my live location with a male friend of mine to feel safe, would always fake call a friend to ensure my safety while I am travelling alone. No, I am not a middle aged woman nor I am a working lady, I am just a girl who inhibits the constant fear of either getting raped/molested or probably being dead. No, these are not the only heinous things that we face, we along with being called a second gender face the problem of unequal pay, prescribed gender roles and the compulsion
to design oneself according to what society sees us as. Caregiver, Emotional, Extra set of hormones with an overload of sentiments and feelings that we feel. I am appalled at the fact that India which claims to be the biggest democracy is also a biggest failure in terms of ensuring safety for women.
Let’s talk about how gender has always played a major role during Wartime. My article is going to focus on how women were targeted during wartime and how women are still considered to be a tool through one can announce its victory and another’s failure.
I have always considered that being born a woman is a disadvantage if you’re born in the certain environment. One automatically becomes the target of the attackers and you just don’t get to decide rules for yourself. Men make them for you. As if they were ordained by some superpower to tell us how to behave, what to wear and etc. More than being an external threat, it’s an internal threat which stalls the development of a country. Given that historically women had been considered the property of men and there were no efficient laws made to ensure the safety of women during war times. I find it shocking that historically Pillage was considered a deviant and a prohibition regime was created to ensure the obligation, precision and delegation. Why did states
choose to codify Pillage as violation of International Law yet neglected rape for almost a century after that codification?
My article focuses on the ironic yet double standards of International Law which on one hand through various conventions and treaties “prohibited” Pillage and on the other hand did absolutely nothing to make sure that women were treated with respect which they very much deserve. Finding a regime or the time where Rape and violence against women was created is much more difficult task than I thought it would be, because of the lawmakers were finding it difficult to recognise these heinous crimes against women to be wrong in itself. History plays a very important role in the constantly changing structure of international politics and agendas that they pursue, how one thing came into existence and what aspects were behind it, history tells us all. So, let’s talk history, women have been targeted since the very concept of war began to came into existence, when Crusaders invaded Constantinople they raped women (1096), German army raped Belgian women during world war 1, Japanese army raped Chinese women during world war 2, Americans raped Vietnamese women during Vietnam war, so it’s not just something which came out of nowhere it’s a century long process which due to its continuity became a tool and a weapon against the opposition.
Even Grotius, known as father of laws of war stated that “Ravishing of women is sometimes permitted in War and sometimes not. They that permit it, respect only the injury done to the body of an enemy which by the laws of arms they think should be subject to all acts of hostility.” Lieber code which is considered to be the one of the first stepping stone into the making of laws for the wartime (Hague Convention of 1899) in his article 44 and article 47 explicitly mentioned about rape being a punishable crime and must be prevented in all circumstances and can’t be justified at any costs and bears a death penalty. Al though this code wasn’t an international law and was meant for the purpose of American army to conduct itself during wartime. It laid down the basic
foundations of international law for the conduct of oneself during war. While on one hand Americans were laying down rules and creating a regime of protocol and code of conduct of oneself during war, Europeans found the very idea of rules of conduct during war to be stupid and unintelligent able.
“The body of raped woman becomes a ceremonial battlefield, a parade ground for the victors trooping of colors. The acct that is played out upon her is a message passed between men” Susan Brownmiller wrote in 1975. Men who attacked the women of other country saw that attack as the attack on community and an attack on the property of men, so we can say that Pillage which literally translates to Looting of private property is equal to Raping women of rivals. Both were seen to be as a form of attack on private property of men which would decrease their morale and hail them as more powerful. For centuries, parties have emerged victorious solely on
the basis of raping women of their rivals and not on the basis of any other material aspect. But in the later 20 th century we see there has been an outward looking approach towards creating awareness about heinous crime like Rape. For example, “A woman in Berlin” was released in 1945 address the adversities and the pain incurred by the German women during soviet occupation was labelled as “besmirching the honor of German women”
If we look at the ideological shift, we notice that, there wasn’t any shift at all. When we talk about these ideas, we are talking about as recent as 20 th century, where the uncontrollability of male lust, women being the object to that lust and rape being its expression.
It was particularly interesting to see that where Hague Conventions of 1899 did not mention anything about rape in its declaration and any of its articles, Lieber code of 1874 explicitly talks about the prohibition of Rape by women as also talked about in the previous section of this article. They tried to avoid keeping the promises which they knew they could not keep it and avoid being criticised at the international level and when it became necessary because of international pressure to make some laws about it or talk about it to the least, they made the provisions super loose, vague and open to interpretation in nature.
Interestingly there was a law made for the kind of bullets used in the war and use of certain bullets like dumdum bullets were prohibited but there was no law made for the protection of women. This bullet law was made to ensure that there shouldn’t be more pain inflicted on the enemy than required, If happened, it would be considered a breach to international law and would inflict the actions necessary on the violator.
According to John Stuart Mill in the 19 th century “the wife is the actual bond-servant of her husband”. Women were considered fragile. In 2008, the U.N. Security Board received determination 1820, which famous that "assault and other shapes of
sexual savagery can constitute war violations, violations against humankind or a constitutive act with regard to genocide". The Office of the Uncommon Agent of the Secretary-General on
Sexual Viciousness in Strife (SRSG-SVC) was built up by Security Committee Determination 1888 (2009), one in a arrangement of resolutions which recognized the inconvenient affect that sexual savagery in strife has on communities, and recognized that this wrongdoing undermines endeavors at peace and security and revamping once a struggle has finished. The office serves as the Joined together Nations’ representative and political advocate on conflict-related sexual viciousness, and is the chair of the arrange UN Activity against Sexual Savagery in Conflict.
Alongside the birthplaces of the broad communications in the nineteenth century, allegations of war assault were periodically utilized as purposeful publicity by European colonialists so as to legitimize the colonization of spots which they had already conquered. The most remarkable case of this may have happened amid the Indian Rebellion of 1857, known as "India's First War of Independence" to the Indians and as the "Sepoy Mutiny" to the British, where Indian sepoys opposed the British East India Company';s standard in India. While episodes of assault submitted by Indian dissidents against English ladies and young ladies were commonly remarkable amid
the disobedience, they were misrepresented to extraordinary impact by the British media so as to legitimize proceeded with British imperialism in the Indian subcontinent.
At the time, British papers had printed different obviously observer records of English ladies and young ladies being assaulted by Indian dissidents, yet with minimal physical proof to help these records. It was later found that the greater part of these records were false stories which had been made so as to paint local Indian individuals as savages who must be humanized by British colonialists, a mission now and again known as The White Man's Burden. One such record distributed by The Times, with respect to an episode where 48 English young ladies as youthful as 10– 14 had been assaulted by the Indian revolutionaries in Delhi, was condemned as a bogus purposeful publicity story by Karl Marx, who called attention to that the story was
composed by a minister in Bangalore, a long way from the occasions of the disobedience.
Amid the Boxer Rebellion, the Chinese Boxers did not submit assault against outside ladies and just murdered them, yet the Western powers of the Eight-Nation Alliance went on a slaughtering, plundering, and assaulting frenzy against Chinese regular citizens. A great many ladies were assaulted by the attacking troops, and the quantity of ladies who murdered themselves was in the thousands.A western Journalist, George Lynch, said
"there are things that I should not compose, and that may not be imprinted in Great Britain, which would appear to demonstrate that this Western human advancement of our own is simply a facade over savagery.All of the nationalities occupied with plundering and assault. Luella Miner composed that the conduct of the Russian and French was especially horrifying. Chinese ladies and young ladies submitted suicide so as to abstain from being assaulted. The French administrator expelled the assaults, ascribing them to the "heroism of the French troopers".
I would like to end my article with only one question which Tuba Inal in her books also asks “Why are women considered property enough to rape but not property enough to be protected”? How double standard were international law during early times?