Prior to the reading for this week, I had learned about the Rape of Nanking. Nothing very specific, just what it was and how it fit into the brutality of the Japanese army during their attempts to take over the mainland. I had read about what they did to the women and men, all second-hand accounts, but it paled in comparison to the first-hand accounts of the women and soldiers who survived. The images of girls lying dead after being raped were upsetting, to say the least. What really made me think was when the veteran from Japan said that, “It would be all right if we only raped them—I shouldn’t say all right. But we always stabbed and killed them. Because dead bodies don’t talk.” Was it the killing the made it wrong? Can anyone judge war-crimes? Do they vary or are all equally bad? It got me thinking about war crimes, more specifically, horrific ones, like the holocaust, an example talked about in class. I believe that war crimes are not made better or worse by the actions but by how the media portrays it. What’s terrible about the Holocaust is that Hitler targeted specific groups—homosexuals, Jews, the disabled. But would the Holocaust not be equally as terrible if he had just selected random people whom he disliked and shipped them instead to concentration camps? Similarly with Nanking. It baffles me that he could say that it would’ve been “all right” to just rape them. Any war crime is terrible. Period. These women were destroyed whether or not they were also killed. Something I struggle to cope with is that US soldiers have also been charged with raping women as a war tactic, not close to the volume or brutality of Nanking, but rape all the same. It's hard to criticize another country for things it has done in the past when my own country has done horrible things as well.
Attacking women as a method of conducting war is horrible. The article mentions a few viable yet disturbing reasons why it is done. The worst one was “to protect the soldiers.” How can raping and murdering women, old and young, protect the attackers? Apparently, making charms from their pubes and gaining a protective charm from pre-fighting sex are reason enough to brutalize women. Now, ISIS is using rape to tear apart the fabric of the family. Instead of making the rapist the undesirable criminal, rape makes the girls raped unhonorable and defiled, often ostracizing them from their families and communities.
Human trafficking is an increasing problem here in American. Too often poor girls are taken from broken homes and end as drug peddlers or sex slaves, a problem thought only to occur is torn, underdeveloped countries like Nigeria or the middle-east. Sorry, this is a tad off-topic but stemming from the article by Alexis Okeowo. It is hard for me to see or read a piece of sex-slavery in the US because I thought that citizens of here are morally above using women as pawns. Sadly, women are violated and exploited in war just like they are in art, music, and media.