Women in Armed Conflict: The Story of Kosovo


Bianca Karim

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In the post-Cold War era, the politicization and political mobilization of ethnic identities has been used by ethnic entrepreneurs, like Slobodan Milosevic, to emphasize the ethnic "difference" between the majority and minority ethnic groups. Creating an unequal power structure, this politically constructed difference has facilitated and encouraged the abuse of specific groups of people (for example, the women of the minority ethnic group under attack). It was my hypothesis that the rape and sexual abuse of the women and girls of the minority ethnic group (Kosovar Albanians) in the conflict between Kosovar Albanians and Serbs in the former-Yugoslavia was aimed at violating the "honor" of the Albanian community as a whole. This in turn has caused ethnic Albanian women greater suffering. The research I did this summer with Kosovar Albanian refugees in New York and San Diego centered on the effects of sexual abuse on Albanian women. I investigated the atrocities committed by the Serb paramilitaries against Muslim Kosovar Albanian women from 1998-2000. I also studied the ill treatment of Albanian women by their own community due to the perceived shame that sexual abuse brings to the community as a whole. The goal of this study was to explore and suggest alternative and innovative policies of international intervention that more fully address the complexities that civilians experience in conflict and post-conflict situations.


Movindri Reddy




Walter Gerken Fellowship

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