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Listening to the Silences: Women And War (International Humanitarian Law) [Hardcover]

By Helen Durham (Editor) & Tracey Gurd (Editor)
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Item description for Listening to the Silences: Women And War (International Humanitarian Law) by Helen Durham & Tracey Gurd...

Challenging the perception that women are exclusively the victims, the caregivers or the passive supporters of men in times of armed conflict, Listening to the Silences: Women and War exposes the reader to a diversity of women's voices. These voices, both personal and academic, demonstrate that women are increasingly taking on less 'traditional' roles during war, and that these roles are multifaceted, complicated and sometimes contradictory.

The experiences of a judge, forensic anthropologist, survivor of sexual slavery, soldier, activist, journalist, humanitarian worker and others provide the reader with the opportunity to consider the depth of women's involvement in armed conflict. Their voices highlight the fact that the international community at large has historically failed to listen to women, even as they have tried to tell their own individual tales of horror, heroism, courage, devastation, betrayal, violence and integrity during armed conflict. Concurrently the book examines in detail the legal infrastructure in this area, including debates on the adequacy of international law; developments in jurisprudence and the implementation of international resolutions. This book reveals that responses to women's requirements during times of war will continue to be inadequate so long as we persist in silencing these differing perspectives and fail to take account of women's dynamic and changing needs during war.

Listening to the Silences: Women and War is a collection of women's voices, each of which makes a unique contribution to a topic that is gathering international momentum and interest.

The perspectives of these women greatly enhance our understanding of the gendered dimensions of armed conflict - they help to move the discourse beyond silence and towards inclusion, greater understanding and peace.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Brill Academic Pub
Pages   276
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.5"
Weight:   1.45 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 30, 2005
Publisher   Brill Academic Pub
ISBN  9004143653  
ISBN13  9789004143654  

Availability  0 units.

More About Helen Durham & Tracey Gurd

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Helen Durham has an academic affiliation as follows - Melbourne Law School University of Leeds, UK Melbourne Law School Melb.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Law > International Law
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Womens Studies > General
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Womens Studies
6Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Law > International Law

Reviews - What do customers think about Listening to the Silences: Women And War (International Humanitarian Law)?

Feminist Look at Women of War  Jan 13, 2006
Excerpt: The genesis of this book began a number of years ago at a seminar hosted by the Australian Red Cross (ARC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the topic of women and war. The seminar highlighted the significant work undertaken by the ICRC in this area and also gave voice to victims, academics and professionals working in related fields. It was decided that publishing the papers from this event would be a worthy contribution to the literature on this topic. Five years later, with the addition of numerous other authors sourced from all over the globe, Listening to the Silences: Women and War has changed shape, texture and size from the original, rather humble, aim. Yet the underlying philosophy (and feminist methodol¬ogy) remains the same: to listen to the multitude of women's voices and experiences involved in armed conflict so as to provide a deeper reflection on the ways in which war impacts upon women. It is hoped that in reflecting upon these pieces - some highly personal and some tightly academic - the formulation of responses to further protect and empower women can be more easily achieved.
The book is divided into three distinct sections. The first section emerged from the contemplation of one simple, underlying question - `whose voices should we be listening for?' Throughout history, women's voices have often gone unheard or have been silenced when it comes to talking about their experiences of armed conflict. They have been stereotyped predominantly as `victims' in wartime settings, with other roles being regarded as exceptions to the norm. This section, then, attempts to dem¬onstrate - through the inclusion of personal stories recounted by women who have been involved in armed conflict (and its resolution) in differing ways - that the exist¬ence of these stereotypes and silences has hindered the evolution of more thought¬ful responses to women's needs, ideas and activism in relation to armed conflict. The second section looks at what factors operate to liberate and obscure women's voices, examining this matter in `the field' as well as in legal theory and practice. The final sec¬tion deals with the ways in which lessons can be learned by the international commu¬nity in order to empower women and work constructively towards inclusive forms of peace and security. Each section commences with a short summary of the themes and perspectives to be covered to enable the reader to identify areas of interest.
The first section of this book listens to the personal experiences of women during armed conflict. Sometimes women's stories surprise us. This is particularly so when they tell of experiences that seem outside of the `box' usually reserved for women during war, or when they speak of the complex, multifaceted and sometimes contra¬dictory roles women play during and after armed conflict. Sometimes the voices we hear scream with pain or cry with compassion. Sometimes the words women say are not things we like (or expect) to hear. Sometimes women's words are the only things that keep societies - and families - together. The voices in each of these chapters speak of all these things.
This section starts with the horrific and courageous story of Jan Ruff-O'Herne. Here, the Australian grandmother writes of her experience as a sex slave for the Japanese army in Indonesia during World War II. Jan's chapter is followed by Mimi Doretti's. Mimi, a forensic anthropologist, writes of the heartbreaking work of exhum¬ing mass graves in the wake of armed conflict and of returning the remains to victims' families. In this chapter, she tells of the personal connection she made with the wife of a `missing' man exhumed in Ethiopia many years after his disappearance.
The next two pieces give us an on-the-ground perspective of armed conflict - the first from a soldier stationed in Iraq and the second from a humanitarian operational¬ist. Penny Cumming is an Australian army lawyer who recently returned from active duty in Baghdad. She tells of life in a Middle Eastern war zone and the issues she grappled with as a woman involved in combat operations. Charlotte Lindsey then provides an overview of the International Committee of the Red Cross' (ICRC's) recent global study on women and war, outlining some of the ways in which women experience armed conflict around the world and highlighting how the ICRC has attempted to assist and protect women.
This section then turns to the voices of women activists who have taken on non-traditional roles during and after armed conflict. The first is Neela Marikkar, founder of Sri Lanka First - an initiative devoted to using economic power and business strat¬egies to promote peace in Sri Lanka. She talks of the way in which business has been creative in working towards peace in a country wracked by civil war for many years. The next is by Luz Mendez. A member of a revolutionary movement in Guatemala from a young age, Luz went on to become one of the only women at the negotiating table when peace talks began in her country. Luz symbolizes the fluid and shifting roles women take on before, during and after armed conflict.
The inclusion of such stories in this book is based on the philosophy that the development of international humanitarian law can only benefit from gaining an understanding of women's real-life experiences, perspectives and stories of armed con¬flict. It is only through listening to the voices of women such as these that we, as an international community, can more deeply reflect and understand the ways in which war impacts upon women. This will help us to work towards formulating legal and practical responses that can reduce women's suffering and engender empowerment.
This second section of the book aims to review the factors that operate to liberate and obscure the voices of women, in law and in practice, when dealing with issues relating to armed conflict. In all the articles, women talk about their professional (and at times personal) response to suffering during times of armed conflict. These writers, in rais¬ing issues of concern, expose in a variety of fields what should be, and is being, done to address the impact of war and conflict upon women.
The section commences with an article by the former United Nations Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Radhika Coomaraswamy, who examines the issue of sexual violence and armed conflict and the steps to be taken both in law and within communi¬ties to combat this issue. Next Jeanne Ward, an International Rescue Committee officer, writes about issues of gendered violence occurring in refugee and internally displaced persons (IDP) camps and provides case studies outlining the ways in which the matter is being dealt with on the ground and the extent to which women's voices are being heard and acted upon. Maggie O'Kane, a war correspondent, then talks about both the¬oretical and personal issues related to being a woman reporter in such environments.
The section then focuses upon the law with Helen Durham, an international lawyer, outlining the relevant international legal norms aimed at protecting women during times of armed conflict. Judith Gardam, international legal academic, then provides a broad critique of these principles within the international legal regime. Kelly Askin, Senior Legal Officer for the Open Society Justice Initiative's interna¬tional justice division, follows with a review of the jurisprudence arising from the ad hoc international criminal tribunals and the issues for consideration in the prosecution of gendered crimes in other international and hybrid courts.
Finally, this section turns to look at other voices involved in the search for truth and justice. As the ICTY Gender Adviser, Patricia Viseur-Sellers considers the responses of investigators and interpreters in international criminal legal proceedings dealing with violence against women. This is followed by Georgina McEncroe, member of an NGO, writing about the activities and passion of civil society in responding to atroci¬ties committed against women. In conclusion Hayli Miller, an academic, writes about the unique experiences of women during their participation in Truth Commissions.
The final section of the book explores the lessons learned from a number of the pieces in the book and reviews how these voices can be used in the construction of peace and security. Obviously the impact of armed conflict is not eradicated when the fighting stops. For many, women in particular, the hard work begins when the phase of recon¬struction and re-building commences. What is being done to include women in the range of political, social and economic developments post-conflict? How does the local context and culture impact upon this process? What international instruments have been created to assist, and how practical are they? These are some of the themes explored in Section III.
Li Fung, Pacific Program Officer at Oxfam Community Aid Abroad, intro¬duces the section with an in-depth examination of the significant Security Council Resolution 1325 that deals with `Women, Peace and Security'. Li looks at the aims and substance of this resolution as well as the practical work done on this subject matter in the Pacific. Next Rina Amiri, Political Affairs Officer at the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, writes about the role of women in peace-building and reconstruction in Afghanistan after years of armed conflict. Noting the need for a pragmatic approach, Rina highlights the important role played by religious interpreta¬tion and the requirement of men's support if the there is to be a change in the position of women in Afghani society.
In conclusion, Ambassador Swanee Hunt, Director of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard, highlights the advantages - and challenges - of develop¬ing a new model of `inclusive security' that is built firmly on women's active participa¬tion in peace-building at grassroots and policy levels.

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