Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | December 14, 2010

Women as Weapons of War

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women has concluded that violence for women in Colombia is “grave, systematic and generalized” because women are the primary victims of kidnappings, personal humiliations, and sexual slavery, and women are used to “infiltrate” the enemy.

That means, for example, a man sends a woman, it could be his sister or even his daughter, to get close to a guy, and in turn, he can get close to the guy. Or in the same manner, a man sends a woman to gain intelligence on a home or even a military base. On the other hand, a man rapes a woman to humiliate her boyfriend, her husband, her brother or her son. In fact, rape is used as another weapon of war (just like in Chiapas, Mexico, Rwanda, Kuwait, and Haiti). Women—and girls—are frequently victims of gang rape committed by soldiers from all sides of the conflict.

Between January 2002 and December 2008, 315 women died in a combat or as a result of finding themselves in the crossfire.

Between 2004 and 2009, according to the Colombian National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Science, 665 cases of sexual violence were associated with the conflict. However, this study only reached 65 percent of the population. 

There are laws that do give special protection to women. However, such laws are rarely applied, and in Colombia’s case, there is not a cultural respect for women.

Hopefully, the presence of more females in the military will give rise to special attention to women.

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