Militarising Rape: A Strategic Analysis of Bosnian Rape Camps and the Japanese "Comfort Women" System


  • Hee-Won Son University of Calgary


Conventionally, wartime rape was considered an inevitable consequence derived from individual motivations. This biosocial perspective has been countered by feminist scholars and proponents of the emerging strategic rape theory to greater understand the ancient phenomena of both war and rape. Through this article, the traditional theories of wartime rape are challenged in order to further determine the strategic objectives of its institutionalisation. A case study analysis of the Bosnian War in the 1990s and the actions of the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II is utilised to compare and contrast two historical examples of systematic rape during times of armed conflict. These cases demonstrate similar yet differing situations where rape was specifically militarised to advance larger strategic objectives. This article illuminates the reality of militaries adopting these systematic policies for their strategic value while also aiming to further the discourse on gender and security.