Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies

Sexual Violence against Men (in conflict)

Professor Marysia Zalewski, Professor of International Relations, University of Cardiff

3 November 2016

Marysia Zalewski

Marysia Zalewski presents to the cluster



The incidence of sexual violence in conflict is clearly most typically associated with that perpetrated on women. Though traditionally understood to be inevitable, of late (relatively) the tools of feminist theory have been used to demonstrate the political character of this kind of violence. In the context of international security, one of the most familiar renditions of this is the 'rape as a weapon of war' argument. Conversely, the incidence of sexual violence against men, although also a very familiar violent practice in conflict over many centuries has received far less attention – regularly 'relegated to a footnote'. More recently however, robust calls have been made to raise the issue of sexual violence against men nearer to the top of international security agendas, or at least to level out the 'gendered attention' to this form of violence. Is this a simple question of 'gender inclusion'? Men are a 'gender too' after all. Yet if, as decades of theorising has shown, gender works hierarchically, what impact might the 'levelling out' of gendered attention to this manner of violence have? In this paper Professor Marysia Zalewski unpacked these questions to consider what we can learn about the relationship between gender, power and international security.

About the speaker

Marysia Zalewski is Professor of International Relations at Cardiff University. Her research focuses on feminist enquiry and she is currently working on critical projects on sexual violence against men, the future of sexual violence, sexed violence and terrorism, performance and knowledge production in international politics and creative writing in IR. Key publications include her 2013 book Feminist International Relations: Exquisite Corpse (Routledge), the ‘Man Question’ books (with Jane Parpart) and a range of essays including most recently those co-authored with Maria Stern (‘ Feminist Fatigue(s): reflections on feminism and familiar fables of militarization’ The Review of International Studies, 2009) and Anne Sisson Runyan (‘Taking Feminist Violence Seriously in Feminist International Relations’ International Feminist Journal of Politics, 2013 and ‘Unthinking sexual violence in a neoliberal age of spectacular terror’, Critical Studies on Terrorism, 2015).