John K. Roth and Carol Rittner
Weapon of War and Genocide
Paragon House 2012
While reading about genocide and mass violence should always be be disturbing, a certain numbness sets in over time. Every once in a while, however, a book breaks through that numbness to remind the reader of the horror inherent in the subject.
The new book Rape: Weapon of War and Genocide, edited by John Roth and Carol Rittner (Paragon House, 2012) is one of these books. While individuals have always committed or fell victim to sexual violence during conflicts, only recently have armies and states begun to use large-scale rape as a tactic to help them achieve their broader war aims. Rittner and Roth set out to explore why and how this is happening and to identify possible solutions to the problem. Some of the essays are academic, some personal, but they all contain horrifying reminders of the intensely personal experience of rape and sexual violence. Aimed at students as well as professionals, the book offers a broad survey of the state of research rather than overarching conclusions. In doing so, it sears its way into your consciousness.
John and Carol have the kind of easy familiarity that comes from having worked together for decades. The result is more a conversation than an interview. I threw in some guiding questions, but mostly sat back and enjoyed the chance to hear two experts talk with each other about a subject of pressing importance. I hope you’ll appreciate the chance to do the same.