Books by Beverly Allen

Released: Feb. 1, 1996

A personally and politically authoritative inquiry into modern war crimes. Allen (Comparative Literature/Syracuse Univ.) describes and analyzes three kinds of genocidal rape practiced by the Serb forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. First, soldiers brutally rape women in public, returning several days later to guarantee safe passsage for the terrified villagers only if they promise never to return. Second, persons held in concentration camps are repeatedly raped and often killed. Finally, soldiers repeatedly rape women until they become pregnant. The acts of rape continue until late enough in the pregnancy to preclude a safe abortion. The women are then released, eventually to give birth to a Serb child. Using accounts of camp survivors and those who work to help them, Allen chooses to bypass ``proper scholarly standards of source documentation'' in order to ensure the safety of her informants and future survivors of genocidal rape. Allen concentrates on genocidal rape as it takes form in impregnating women, since this particular form of genocide is unprecedented. Further, according to Allen, it is a logically flawed system of genocide, ``possible only because the policy's authors erase all identity characteristics of the mother other than that as a sexual container.'' Allen attempts to locate genocidal rape in the legal text of international war crimes, but concludes that current conceptions are not sufficient to guarantee justice against such acts. Alternatively, she suggests such violence should be prosecuted as biological warfare, because the crime requires the perpetrator to be biologically male and the victim a biological female capable of conceiving a child. Throughout, Allen reminds the reader that her primary goal with providing evidence of genocidal rape is to stop the violence, and she calls everyone to action to end the aggression. Allen provides a general and informative map to decoding ethnic relations and a specific and essential outline of genocidal rape. Read full book review >