Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2020

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science and International Affairs

Department Chair or Program Director

Kramer, Jack

First Advisor

Gupta, Surupa

Second Advisor

Cooperman, Rosalyn

Major or Concentration

International Affairs


How does one call attention to the gender dimensions of war violence or postwar inequalities without reproducing images of passive female victimhood and support for patriarchal notions of the protection of women? In the case of the Bosnian War, because of the large scale of sexual violence and the attention focused on this violence, Bosnian women have been stereotyped and relegated to the role of rape victim. Although women suffered from grave violations of human rights, this stereotypical portrayal is not adequate, and neglects the active role played in the perpetration of violence by some women. It also neglects women’s roles as activists, peace builders, sole supporters of their family, or political elites in a war effort.

This project seeks to identify how existing scholarly literature and media representation about the Bosnian War has contributed to the victimization of women. Most of the literature on women and warfare, or women and gender, analyzes the role of women from a victim-centred perspective. Although research shows that the majority of perpetrators are men, women too have been involved in the perpetration of war crimes. Hence, this project utilizes scholarly material, interviews with Bosnian women, and newspaper articles to make the case that the securitization of sexual violence has unintentionally resulted in its fetishization and enhanced the invisibility of women in post-conflict discussions.