Militarization and Gender Violence in South Sudan

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This article discusses gender violence, domestic and beyond, in wartime southern Sudan, particularly among the Dinka of southwestern Sudan. Furthermore, it discusses the efforts of rebel armies, fighting against the northern government of Sudan, to forge a woman’s role in the liberation struggle. The effort has focused on the women’s reproductive roles as their contribution. This “nationalization” of the womb has nearly licensed young violent men to assume rights over women’s sexuality–often leading to rape. Coupled with traditional cultural notions of sexuality, this wartime experience has reinforced men’s domination over women. This article argues that much scholarly emphasis has been placed on the use of rape as a weapon for torture. But equally important are the myriad of ways in which violence is socially reproduced within communities and families.

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Jok Madut Jok

Executive director at Sudd Institute
Jok Madut Jok is cofounder of the Sudd Institute. Born and raised in Sudan, Jok studied in Egypt and the United States. He is trained in the anthropology of health and holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Jok recently joined the Government of South Sudan as undersecretary in the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. He was a J. Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and a fellow at the Rift Valley Institute. He is a Professor in the Department of History at Loyola Marymount University in California, from which he is on an extended leave. He has also worked in aid and development, first as a humanitarian aid worker and has been a consultant for a number of aid agencies. He is the author of three books and numerous articles covering gender, sexuality and reproductive health, humanitarian aid, ethnography of political violence, gender-based violence, war and slavery, and the politics of identity in Sudan. His book Sudan: Race, Religion and Violence, was published in 2007. Jok is co-editor of The Sudan Handbook, 2010.

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