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Women and the Rwanda Genocide


EXPC-6005 Gender and Peace Studies
Presented to: Professor Jacobo Schifter
Date: 16th December, 2012.
Women and the Rwandan Genocide
By: Roshinder Singh
The Rwandan genocide is considered to be unique due to the intensity, speed and the high
number of deaths in a 100 day period. The Rwandan genocide is considered to be especially unique due
to the involvement of women partaking, planning, and conducting genocidal acts. Is this unusual or
have such atrocious and violence acts been overlooked in the past? When a woman commits murder or
an act of deviance she is no longer considered to be a woman but instead a 'monster'. She becomes de-
sexed. However, when a man rapes or murders or burns down houses, his sex remains the same. Why is
that? It is because women are placed in a box which is labeled caretaker, nurturing and even, non-
violent. But are women non-violent? According to the Rwandan genocide, quite the contrary. Although
very few women, in comparison to the actual amount of perpetrators, have been persecuted, there are
many more who have escaped or have been taken off trial d ue to this idea that women do not behave in
this manner and are victims, not murderers. So, because of society's social construction of the female
gender, justice has not been met for thousands of families. The murderers and the genocidal actors have
been spared because they are sympathized with or the facts brought forth as evidence are simply not
believable as they are women and have a record of being feminine before the genocide occurred.
Although a woman is spared because of her sex and the pure disbe lief that a woman can act in such a
way, would she still complain about having to be forced to breed, to manage a household, to keep her
thoughts and ideas to herself and to not be a member of Parliament? This is the one instance where the
social construction of women works in favor for them. The perception is that women are non- violent,
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