Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Rape as a Tool of Recruitment and Retention in Terrorist Organizations
by Brownridge-Edwards, Rena', M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2014, 54; 10305843
Abstract (Summary)

Considerable literature has been written on female suicide terrorists and their motivations, yet the use of sexual violence, specifically rape, as a weapon of war and a means of recruitment and retention has been overlooked by counter-terrorism experts and military strategists. Academics and those who study war, feminist theory, and foreign policy acknowledge that rape has been used as a terrorist tactic in insolation. Most reports have highlighted that female terrorists are coerced, shamed, and humiliated by the violation of their bodies. Absent from these studies is the matter of rape used as a tool of recruitment and retention, which has larger strategic implications. There is untapped potential in strategic recruitment of women for terrorist campaigns that extends beyond a singular terrorist operation. Failure to address this aspect of rape ignited the question for this thesis. This thesis aims to understand rape as a tool of recruitment and retention of female terrorists and demonstrate how this act affects the security of a region.

This thesis poses the question of rape (with male perpetrator against female victim) as a recruitment and retention tool for female suicide bombers and how that act affects security in terms of the successful recruitment of girls and women using this method. Terrorist recruiters use girls and women for various reasons, justify their use despite cultural taboos, and use rape as a tool for compliance. Use of rape as a tool of compliance has strategic implications, especially to terror organizations. The use of girls and women in terrorist operations must be taken into consideration when post-conflict reconstruction plans and counter-terrorism measures are developed so that strategies are put in place that offer protection to girls and women, thereby deterring their availability to terrorist organizations.

Keywords: Gender-based violence, terrorism, rape, female suicide, conflict

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Carlson, Kerstin
Commitee: Perry, Susan
School: The American University of Paris (France)
Department: International Affairs
School Location: France
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Womens studies, Criminology, Organization Theory
Keywords: Gender-based violence, Rape, Recruitment, Suicide bombers, Terrorist organizations
Publication Number: 10305843
ISBN: 9781369494075
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