Glocalisation Masculinities and Violence(s) Against Men and Boys in Darfur

Gender and the Violence(s) of War and Armed Conflict: More Dangerous to Be a Woman?

ISBN: 978-1-78769-116-2, eISBN: 978-1-78769-115-5

Publication date: 16 October 2020


Banwell, S. (2020), "Glocalisation Masculinities and Violence(s) Against Men and Boys in Darfur", Banwell, S. (Ed.) Gender and the Violence(s) of War and Armed Conflict: More Dangerous to Be a Woman? (Emerald Studies in Criminology, Feminism and Social Change), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 135-157.



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Copyright © 2020 Stacy Banwell


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On the subject of sexual violence, O’Brien (2016, p. 386) makes the following observation:

There is a long history of the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and during mass atrocities such as crimes against humanity and genocide. While men are also subject to sexual violence, the majority of victims of sexual violence committed during mass atrocities are women, particularly in relation to sexual violence crimes beyond basic rape.

This statement is indicative of the way in which many scholars, policymakers, global advocacy groups, and the news media approach the topic of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV). Male victims are mentioned, but they are on the periphery, presented as though they are footnotes to the main subject of female victimisation. From an empirical standpoint, based on the recorded data that we have, O’Brien (2016) is correct in her assessment: females do make up the majority of victims of rape and sexual violence (Henry, 2016; Leatherman, 2011; Sjoberg & Peet, 2011; Touquet & Gorris, 2016; True, 2012; see also Boesten, 2017; Davies & True, 2015 for a critical review of the data/research on this). However, as argued in Chapter 4, rape and sexual violence do not represent the full range of CRSV and sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) committed during, and in the aftermath of, war/armed conflict. Furthermore, returning to the point I made in the Introduction, rather than base our evaluation on differences in numbers and prevalence, the experiences of both males and females can be understood through unpacking the gendered meanings of the violence(s) that are enacted and suffered.

Another trend within the scholarly literature on gender and wartime rape and sexual violence, as identified by Grey and Shepherd (2013, p. 120), is the absent presence logic. They explain:

In these cases, although the writer does not expressly say that sexual violence is targeted predominantly at women, where a gender is ascribed to the victim, it is almost invariably female.

In the previous chapter, I referred to Butler’s (2007) work on The Digitalization of Evil and her investment in uncovering whose lives matter and whose lives are griveable. In a similar vein, Grey and Shepherd (2013, p. 122), in their analysis of the visibility of male victims of CRSV (both within policy and academic discourses), ask two key questions: ‘whose bodies are visible?’ and ‘whose bodies matter?’ In response to these questions they suggest that the silencing of men’s experiences, alongside ‘the absent presence of masculinity’, results in the ‘denial of the materiality of the violated male body’.

Writers argue that these exclusionary politics within international relations and international security are based, in part, on essentialist assumptions about men and women. Here, hegemonic (also normative) understandings of gender associate men/masculinity with aggression, violence and agency and women/femininity with victimisation, vulnerability and passivity (see Carpenter, 2005, 2006; Grey & Shepherd, 2013). Thus, male victimisation is both materially and ontologically disruptive. This explains why the vulnerability of the penis – when it is disempowered through sexualised violence – is so destabilising (Clark, 2017). In her analysis of the human security framework, Carpenter (2005) comes to the conclusion that women and children, through their association with innocence and vulnerability, serve as a proxy for ‘civilian’. It is they who must be protected during war/armed conflict. This blueprint has meant that CRSV and SGBV against men and boys, especially those identified as ‘combatants’, is obscured from this security paradigm (Carpenter, 2005).

Let us expand upon this discussion of the human security framework and consider the role of biopolitical violence within this securitisation narrative. To do so, we will draw on the work of Foucault (1978) and Wilcox (2015).

In order to unpack Foucault’s ‘biopolitics of the population’ (1978), it is useful to place these ideas within his broader work on power and governmentality (Adams, 2017). For Foucault (1977, 1978), power is not treated as a possession; rather it is an economy that is dispersed throughout society, in practices, institutions and technologies (Foucault, 1977, 1978). Societies, he argued, assigned themselves the task of administering life. This political power over life, to paraphrase Foucault (1978), evolved in two basic forms. The first centred on the body as a machine and the second, on the body as a biological entity. Bodies are supervised, Foucault (1978, p. 139 emphasis in the original) continues:

[…] through an entire series of interventions and regulatory controls: a biopolitics of the population. The disciplines of the body and the regulations of the population constituted the two poles around which the organisation of power over life was deployed.

For Foucault (1978), biopolitics is about regulating and preserving the life of populations. It is ‘…a power that exerts a positive influence on life, that endeavours to administer, optimise, and multiply it, subjecting it to precise controls and comprehensive regulations’ (Foucault, 1978, p. 137). Within this line of thinking, the security of the nation-state is dependent upon the survival of the population. Expert discourses, created by the nation-state, decide which bodies/populations are vulnerable and require intervention (see Wilcox, 2015). Here, the body gains meaning through discourse.

Drawing inspiration from Foucault’s work (1978) on biopower and biopolitics, Wilcox (2015, p. 17) argues that contemporary practices of violence are constituted with reference to biopower. Biopolitical violence sees bodies as either populations that must be eliminated or populations that must be protected. Put simply, biopolitical practices of security are concerned with preserving certain human bodies whilst dealing death and destruction to others. Bodies, Wilcox (2015) argues, are not pre-political; they come into being through practices of international war and security. Humans, then, ‘…are not only vulnerable to violence as natural bodies…they also are vulnerable because they exist only in and through their constitution in a social and political world’ (Wilcox, 2015, p. 167). In other words, discourses of human security, in the context of biopolitics, decide which bodies need to be rescued and kept alive (Wilcox, 2015). As demonstrated in Chapter 4, women and girls have been identified as populations that need to be protected, particularly from wartime rape and sexual violence. This is reflected in the Stop Rape Now campaign (first discussed in the Introduction), whose mission statement is to end ‘…sexual violence during and in the wake of conflict’ and ‘…respond effectively to the needs of survivors’. Here, CRSV is described as ‘…a present-day emergency affecting millions of people, primarily women and girls’ (see the Stop Rape Now website. Emphasis added).

This gendered ‘rape-security nexus’ (Hirschauer, 2014, p. 3) is also present within a number of UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs). UNSCR 1325, passed in 2000, was the first to ‘take special measures to protect women and girls from…rape and other forms of sexual abuse…in situations of armed conflict…’ (UNSCR 1325, 2000, p. 3). This pledge was reiterated in 2008 with UNSCR 1820, which emphasised ‘that women and girls are particularly targeted by the use of sexual violence’ (UNSCR 1820, 2008, p. 1; see also UNSCR 1888, 2009a and 2106, 2013a). It is only when UNSCR 2106 was passed in 2013, that men and boys are recognised, for the first time, as victims of CRSV. Not only is this essentialised protection narrative present within policy documents, as demonstrated in previous chapters, it is also represented in visual form. In Chapter 4, I reviewed the Amnesty International poster – ‘rape is cheaper than bullets’. This poster formed part of their campaign to raise awareness about the use of rape as a weapon of war against women and girls. And in the previous chapter, I discussed the mutilated face of Bibi Aisha which formed part of the justificatory narrative for the war on terror. In both examples, women and girls, by virtue of being female, are regarded as requiring protection. Men and boys – whether implicitly or explicitly – are identified as perpetrators. Within the biopolitics of violence, the equation between maleness, masculinity and aggression disqualifies them from requiring protection.

As noted in the Introduction, the title of this book is taken from a statement made by Major General Patrick Cammaert. This former United Nations force commander reproduces the essentialist gender binaries outlined above. Granted, his analysis compares civilian women with male combatants. Here, the irony of his point – that war/armed conflict is more dangerous for civilian women than it is for male soldiers – holds more currency. In this chapter, I unpack the risks and dangers faced by men and boys during, and in the aftermath, of war/armed conflict.

Outline of the Chapter

The main focus of the second half of this chapter is the genocide in Darfur (2003–2005). I have chosen this case study for the following reasons. First and foremost, the SGBV that takes place within this conflict is interconnected at the macro-, meso- and micro-levels. Each of the chapters in this book has sought to address gender and the violence(s) of war/armed conflict at these three levels of analysis. Darfur offers the final example in the collection of case studies reviewed throughout the book. It also connects the violence(s) of armed conflict to environmental as well as institutional and interpersonal causal factors. This is important for, as argued in Chapter 4, by broadening the diagnostic framework – to consider climate variability and extreme weather events within analyses of armed conflict – we can extend our understanding of the causes and consequences of conflict violence. This will assist in our endeavors to combat such violence. I will expand upon all three levels in due course. Second, as discussed below, existing definitions of the violence(s) of war/armed conflict often omit the specific harms men and boys suffer. Using the example of Darfur, I examine categories of genocidal and reproductive violence that are not explicitly addressed within policy discourse. Finally, this case study allows me to revisit Connell’s (2005) gender hierarchy and reimagine her notion of globalisation masculinities.

I begin my analysis of Darfur with a detailed review of the origins of the conflict, outlining the various explanations that have been offered. This is followed by an examination of gender roles in Darfur. I argue that gender roles and gendered hierarchies within Sudanese culture more broadly form the backdrop to this conflict; informing both the motivations of perpetrators, and the experiences of victims. I then explore the violence(s) that took place during this genocide: sex-selective killing, rape and genital harm. In a similar vein to Chapter 4, as far as possible, this chapter will draw upon the narratives of victims/survivors (both male and female) from the empirical data gathered during this period. In my analysis of the genocide that took place during the conflict I return to the gender hierarchy discussed in the previous chapter, specifically the process of feminising and emasculating male victims. Unlike in the previous chapter – where the focus was on the motivations and representations of female perpetrators – here I explore male victimisation to unpack the messages this violence communicates to, and about, men and masculinity. Two iterations of Connell’s (1998, 2005) globalisation masculinities (discussed in Chapters 2, 3 and 5) are explored in my analysis of Darfur. In the first instance, I draw upon Connell’s thesis to explore the gender hierarchy (see Chapters 2 and 5) that led up to, and informed the violence(s) that took place during the conflict in Darfur. In the final part of the chapter, I draw upon feminist understandings of the local-global nexus to rethink globalisation masculinities. Drawing on Howe’s (2008) notion of glocalisation, and Connell’s globalisation masculinities, I use my notion of glocalisation masculinities to unpack the violence(s) that took place during this conflict (more on this below). The chapter begins however with a review of the literature on CRSV against men and boys. In this section, I identify key themes within the literature. Before that let us consider the terminology used in this chapter.


As noted in Chapter 2, CRSV encompasses the following:

[R]ape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, enforced sterilisation, forced marriage and any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity perpetrated against women, men, girls or boys that is directly or indirectly linked to a conflict. (United Nations (UN), 2018b, p. 3)

Interestingly, the types of CRSV that men and boys may suffer (forced masturbation, genital violence, forced rape) are not explicitly listed in the definition above. They would fall under ‘any other form of sexual violence’. Apart from rape and enforced sterilisation, all other types of violence refer to violence against women and girls.

GBV is violence that is directed against an individual based on socially ascribed gender differences. SGBV reflects the sexual(ised) nature of this violence. Based on this definition, men and women can be both perpetrators and victims. However, as Carpenter (2006, p. 86) notes:

Given the intention behind and inclusiveness of these definitions, it is very interesting that the concept of [GBV] has been linked almost exclusively to the issue of violence against women in the human security sector…

Indeed, numerous international instruments conflate GBV with violence against women and girls (Carpenter, 2006; Christian, Safar, Ramazani, Burnham, & Glass, 2011; Gorris, 2015; see Linos, 2009 for a more detailed review).

In this chapter, the types of CRSV committed against men and boys (discussed in the various sections) includes: rape (both oral and anal); sexual torture and genital mutilation; enforced sterilisation (through castration); and sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA). SGBV will refer to sex-selective killings. Grey (2017) uses the term reproductive violence to describe violence(s) that violate an individual’s reproductive autonomy. In my discussion of Darfur, I use this term to refer to acts of genital harm carried out on Darfuri men. Rape and the sex-selective killing by soldiers and the militia group, the Janjaweed,1 are understood as acts of genocidal violence.

I will be replacing Connell’s notion of globalisation masculinities with my notion of glocalisation masculinities. To recap, globalisation masculinities include the following: masculinities of conquest and settlement, masculinities of empire and masculinities of postcolonialism and neoliberalism (Connell, 1998, 2005). Howe (2008) uses the term glocalisation to convey the negative impact certain macro-level systems and structures (such as globalisation, capitalism and neoliberalism) has on meso- and micro-level everyday experiences. This is referred to as the global-local nexus. With reference to Darfur, I employ this term to examine the intersections between the macro-, meso- and micro-levels. In this example, the macro-level refers to climate variability and the extreme weather conditions it produces which, in this example, resulted in extreme droughts in Darfur. As will be demonstrated, drought and desertification, which also precluded men from performing hegemonic masculinity, resulted in violent clashes over natural resources in Darfur. Here, we can trace the relationship between a macro-level phenomenon, such as climate variability, and the genocidal violence that took place at the local level in Darfur. At the meso-level, I unpack how State-led Arabisation policies impacted the gender hierarchy in Darfur. The institutionalisation of local Arab Sudanese masculinities subordinated African Darfuri men. Rape and sexual violence were used to achieve this. Finally, at the micro-level, I review the use of genocidal and reproductive violence by the Janjaweed and the government of Sudan. Here, we see how individual men carried out localised acts of conquest and expulsion.

This chapter acknowledges that the violence(s) that took place during the armed conflict in Darfur (against males and females) were genocidal. There have been disagreements about this. Most notably The UN International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur. Written in 2005, it ‘…concluded that the Government of the Sudan [had] not pursued a policy of genocide’ (as cited in Hagan, Rymond-Richmond & Parker, 2005, p. 534). Scott Anderson, who wrote an article in The New York Times also refused to acknowledge that genocide was committed in Darfur (as cited in Hagan et al., 2005; see their article for a more detailed review of these denials). Despite this, a number of scholars provide detailed and compelling evidence to support the argument that genocide was committed in Darfur (see Ferrales, Brehm, & McElrath, 2016; Hagan et al., 2005; Hagan & Rymond-Richmond, 2008; Kaiser & Hagan, 2015). When referring to the conflict in Darfur, I understand and position the violence(s) that took place as genocidal.

A Brief Review of the Literature

Throughout history and across conflicts globally (e.g. Colombia, Peru, Rwanda, Darfur, Sri Lanka), men are systematically targeted for execution (Carpenter, 2005). Battle-aged men and boys (those likely to become combatants) become targets of political violence (Carpenter, 2005, 2006; Jones, 2000, 2002). In the words of Carpenter (2006, p. 88):

The empirical record suggests that, of all civilians, adult men are most likely to be targeted in armed conflict. The singling out of men for execution has now been documented in dozens of ongoing conflicts worldwide…More often than women, young children, or the elderly, military-age men and adolescent boys are assumed to be ‘potential’ combatants and are therefore treated by armed though they are legitimate targets of political violence....

Despite this evidence – which points to the deliberate and systematic targeting of civilian men and boys – historically their experiences have been obscured from the human security framework (Carpenter, 2005). Gender essentialism, biopolitical and ontological constructions of women as vulnerable and in need of protection – and the concomitant equation of women with civilian- explain this marginalisation of men within the security paradigm.

Apart from Carpenter’s work in the early 2000s, historically, research on male victims of CRSV has received far less attention, particularly when compared with the copious amount of information on female victims. Generally speaking, policy makers, academics, advocacy groups, as well as the news media, are guilty of this oversight (Apperley, 2015; Christian et al., 2011; Gorris 2015; Grey & Shepherd, 2013; Lewis, 2009; Linos, 2009; United Nations Office for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict [UN SRSG-SVC], 2013; Sivakumaran, 2007, 2010; Solangon & Patel, 2012; Vojdik, 2014). Despite receiving limited attention, both within and outside academia, CRSV against men and boys has been documented in over 25 conflicts over the last three decades (Gorris, 2015; Linos, 2009; Solangon & Patel, 2012; Touquet & Gorris, 2016; UN SRSG-SVC, 2013Vojdik, 2014). As Sivakumaran (2007, p. 257) notes, sometimes the violence is sporadic and haphazard, at other times it is systematic. She lists the following conflicts where sexual violence against men and boys has taken place: Uganda, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Liberia, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, the DRC and South Africa; El Salvador, Chile, Guatemala and Argentina; Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Sri Lanka; Greece, Northern Ireland, Chechnya, Turkey and the former Yugoslavia (see also Christian et al., 2011; Trenholm, Olsson, Blomqvst, & Ahlberg, 2013). This list is by no means exhaustive but should give readers a sense of the scope.

More recently, scholars from a range of disciplines have begun to write about CRSV against men and boys (Carpenter, 2005, 2006; Gorris, 2015; Grey & Shepherd, 2013; Lewis, 2009; Linos, 2009; Touquet & Gorris, 2016; Sivakumaran, 2007, 2010; Solangon & Patel, 2012; Vojdik, 2014). Extending beyond academic scholarship, in 2013, the office of the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict held a workshop to examine the consequences of sexual violence against men and boys in conflict situations. And, at the time of writing, empirical research has uncovered the sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) of unaccompanied and separated refugee boys in Greece (Digidiki & Bhabha, 2018; Freccero, Biswas, Whiting, Alrabe, & Seelinger, 2017).

As we know, conflict results in mass displacement. The current refugee crisis in Europe is characterised by an unprecedented number of children seeking asylum. This includes unaccompanied and separated children2 (Digidiki & Bhabha, 2018; Freccero et al. 2017; Mason-Jones & Nicholson, 2018). According to Freccero et al. (2017), of the 63,000 unaccompanied and separated children applying for asylum in the European Union in 2016, 89% were males (see also Digidiki & Bhabha, 2018). These 14–17-year-old boys, many of whom are in Greece, do not have access to accommodation or employment opportunities while they await decisions on their cases (Digidiki & Bhabha, 2018). Many of these children, Freccero et al. (2017) report, are kept in police cells alongside adults. This exposes them to a number of risks, including SEA. In Athens, for example, SEA of young males takes place in public spaces such as parks and squares, as well as bars, where boys receive payment in exchange for sexual services (Freccero et al., 2017; See also Digidiki & Bhabha, 2018; Mason-Jones & Nicholson, 2018).

As noted by Freccero et al. (2017, p. 2), the SEA of unaccompanied and separated children ‘is both a human rights violation and an urgent public health concern.’ Outlining the various physical and psychological harms associated with this type of abuse, and the barriers refugees and migrants face in seeking the necessary medical treatment within these crisis/emergency settings, Freccero et al. (2017) argue that prevention is vital. Resonant with the arguments around gender essentialism and the gendered nature of the human security framework presented above, these researchers found that, despite the predominance of adolescent boys within the population of unaccompanied and separated children, their experiences did not inform policy discussions or humanitarian responses (SEA and coerced sexual activities were discussed in relation to women and girls in Chapters 3 and 4).

Invisible Victims

Males who have experienced CRSV are often referred to as unrecognised and/or invisible victims (Gorris, 2015). This is due to underreporting and inadequacies in international law. Under-reporting, due to shame, fear, stigma and the criminalisation of homosexuality, hinders our ability to access accurate data on the number of male victims (see Christian et al., 2011; Lewis, 2009; Solangon & Patel, 2012; Vojdik, 2014). Homosexuality is a crime in over 70 countries (Vojdik, 2014). This criminalisation discourages male victims from coming forward (Apperley, 2015; Clark, 2017; Gorris, 2015; Storr, 2011; Touquet & Gorris, 2016; UN SRSG-SVC, 2013; Vojdik, 2014). Added to this, international law often re-labels rape and sexual violence against males as ‘torture’ or ‘mutilation’ (Carlson, 2006; Sivakumaran, 2010; Vojdik, 2014; see also Oosterhoff et al., 2004). And yet, despite these criticisms concerning the terminology of international law, Grey and Shepherd (2013) commend the Ad Hoc Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR), as well as the Special Court for Sierra Leone, for prosecuting male-to-male sexual violence and for recognising and taking seriously the experiences of male victims (see also Lewis, 2009; Sivakumaran, 2007, 2010; Vojdik, 2014). All three prosecuted individuals for committing acts of sexual violence against men (Grey & Shepherd, 2013).

The Impact of These Violence(s)

The impact of CRSV and SGBV on men and boys during war/armed conflict can be physical, emotional, psychological, psycho-sexual and psycho-social (Christian et al., 2011; Lewis, 2009; UN SRSG-SVC, 2013). The consequences can be both short- and long-term (Christian et al., 2011; Lewis, 2009; Solangon & Patel, 2012). As well as the visible and immediate physical impact of these violence(s) – such as tearing, bruising and lacerations – males are also at a greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and AIDS (UN SRSG-SVC, 2013; see also Lewis, 2009). Emotional responses may include shame, guilt, fear, frustration, humiliation, anger and powerlessness; as well as ambiguity about gender identity and sexuality (Solangon & Patel, 2012). They may suffer from various mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance misuse, phobias and suicidal thoughts (Solangon & Patel, 2012; UN SRSG-SVC, 2013). Psycho-sexual impacts relate to the inability of male victims to begin or maintain sexual relationships. Likewise, psycho-social consequences relate to problems continuing with pre-existing or new relationships (UN SRSG-SVC, 2013). Both also relate to difficulties men may face in carrying out physical labour resulting from their physical injuries. This hinders their ability to provide for their families financially, further emasculating and undermining their role as breadwinners/providers (UN SRSG-SVC, 2013, pp. 13–14).

As noted in Chapter 2, rape, pillage and looting were key features of the conflict in the DRC. Accounts from male survivors in the DRC revealed both the emotional and financial impact this had on men and their families (Christian et al., 2011). In the words of a survivor and a local NGO in the DRC, respectively:

It’s a risk to go out and sell things as I might have to face the Interhamwe [sic] [rebels] again and that I might be killed. But then staying at home without food and dying is the other option. So we have to risk our lives. (as cited by Christian et al., 2011, p. 240)

Men in our culture, is the chief of the family, when he is raped, he cannot accept it since he was not made to be that way. Women are raped and it’s acceptable as they are meant to have sex with men, but men are not meant to have sex with men. And that’s why men are shameful. This can happen to women but not to men and this happens most of the time in villages. This they cannot share with others … They leave their house and go into the bushes…They will have to stay there with another group as they will not have any friends in the community. They will be poor, isolated and humiliated. (as cited in Christian et al., 2011, p. 238)

Male survivors in the DRC lost everything they owned: their homes, their animals and their household supplies. This impacted their ability to fund their travel to hospital to receive medical treatment and/or to pay for the medical care they required (Christian et al., 2011). These survivors also talked about their inability to work and provide for their families following their assaults. Men revealed the shame and fear they felt and their concerns regarding risk of revictimisation. This prevented them from earning a living (Christian et al., 2011). As a result, maintaining the household became the responsibility of their wives. This inevitably put a strain on their marriages. As Christian et al. (2011, p. 239) note:

The roles the male survivors report post-sexual assault demonstrates a change in the gender roles in their household that not only impacts the survivors but also the family and wider community.

The Meanings Communicated Through These Violence(s)

In an interview with Will Storr (2011), relating to male sexual violence during the Ugandan conflict, Salome Atim (an officer for the Refugee Law Project) made the following statement:

In Africa no man is allowed to be vulnerable… You have to be masculine, strong…. You should never break down or cry. A man must be a leader and provide for the whole family. When he fails to reach that set standard, society perceives that there is something wrong.

Similarly, Sivakumaran (2007, p. 270) states: ‘[t]he concept of hegemonic masculinity is that of a heterosexual male; to deviate from this heteronormative male standard is to be “less” masculine’.

Writers have demonstrated that male-to-male sexual violence communicates a message of subordination to the victim. Whether through rape, castration, sexual mutilation and/or torture, the male and/or female perpetrator, deprives the victim of their manhood and their masculinity (Baaz & Stern, 2009; Christian et al., 2011; Clark, 2017; Ferrales et al., 2016; Lewis, 2009; Solangon & Patel, 2012; Vojdik, 2014). With reference to the vulnerability of the penis, Clark (2017, p. 3) observes:

This ‘side’ of the penis is rarely seen. Within contemporary discourses on sexual violence…the penis is typically framed as a weapon” [as illustrated in Chapter 4]. It is a hard, aggressive object that penetrates and tears, causing pain and suffering…the exposure of [the vulnerability of the penis] challenges phallocentric masculinity by stripping the phallus of its power and strength…hence its dominance.

In the remainder of her article, Clark (2017) urges to think of the penis in a two-dimensional way: as a weapon that harms and as an object that is harmed. Here the penis is both a symbol of phallocentric masculinity, as well as the target of its material and symbolic destruction.

As well as the feminisation and emasculation of individual males, Sivakumaran (2007, p. 274) argues that rape and sexual violence can also emasculate the group to which the man/boy belongs. She says:

In much the same way as sexual violence against women may symbolize to offender and victim alike the destruction of the national, racial, religious or ethnic culture…sexual violence against men symbolizes the disempowerment of the national, racial, religious or ethnic group. Specifically, [t]he castration of a man is considered to emasculate him, to deprive him of his power. The castration of a man may also represent the symbolic emasculation of the entire community.

In Chapter 1, I discussed the notion of woman-as-nation. I argued that, during war/armed conflict, women and their bodies become the receptacles through which national, racial, ethnic and religious identities are reproduced. Comparable to this attack upon ‘woman-as-nation’, an attack upon men disempowers the national, racial, religious or ethnic group to which he belongs. Here, we might think of man-as-protector. The violated male has failed to protect the nation/community to which he belongs. In cases of enforced sterilisation (through castration) and other types of genital mutilation, this violence is more than symbolic. It can also be genocidal as it ‘prevents births within the group’ (The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 2014; see Chapter 1 for the full definition). Violence that is intentionally aimed at the male reproductive organs, with the aim of affecting their ability to procreate, can be considered genocidal. This was the case during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. As explained by one perpetrator, while he was beating the testicles of his victim, ‘you’ll never make Muslim children again’ (as cited in Sivakumaran, 2007, p. 273). These themes of feminisation, emasculation, reproductive and genocidal violence will be discussed (with reference to the genocide in Darfur) in more detail below.


Background to the Conflict

While Sudan and South Sudan have been plagued by civil war, my focus is on the conflict in Darfur. Despite the signing of a peace agreement in 2006, violence and unrest continue in the Darfur region of Sudan (United Nations, 2007, 2017). This section, however, will focus on the period between June 2003 and January 2005. This was when the armed conflict, between the Sudanese Government, the allied Janjaweed militia and armed rebel groups, was at its height (de Waal, Hazlett, Davenport & Kennedy, 2014). For some, the conflict in Darfur can be attributed to cultural and economic clashes between the African and Arab populations in the region (Olsson & Siba, 2013). In the words of Olsson and Siba (2013, p. 301):

[T]he …conflict in Darfur…has deep roots within the social fabric of Darfur itself. It represents a rapid escalation of a conflict that has long divided different groups in Darfur over land use and competition for scarce natural resources, particularly water.

For others, however, the systematic neglect and marginalisation of Darfur by the government of Sudan was the catalyst to the onset of the conflict (Ferrales et al., 2016). Below I consider the social, cultural, political, environmental and economic factors that contributed to the outbreak of violence (see also Salih, 2008). I also examine the gendered nature of this genocide.

It is estimated that at least 35,000 civilians were killed during this time (de Waal et al., 2014). And by 2007, the UN reported that over 200,000 people had been killed and more than 2 million displaced from Darfur since the conflict began in 2003 (United Nations, 2007). Ferrales et al. (2016) and others (see Kaiser & Hagan, 2015) have examined the gendered nature of genocidal violence in Darfur. Drawing on this work, Connell’s notion of the gender hierarchy and globalisation masculinities, as well as Grey’s (2017) notion of reproductive violence, I explore the gendered nature of the genocide in Darfur. I do so by focusing on the experiences of men and boys. Women and girls were also targeted during this genocide. For a review of their experiences, see Hagan and Kaiser (2015).

Situated in the far western province of Sudan, bordering Chad, Libya and the Central African Republic, Darfur – translated from Arabic meaning ‘home or land of the fur’ (de Waal, 2005, Salih, 2008) – is separated into three federal states (Salih, 2008). These are: Shamal Darfur (in North Darfur), Janub Darfur (in South Darfur) and Gharb Darfur (situated in West Darfur) (Salih, 2008, p. 1). They cover roughly 500,000 sq. km (Olsson & Siba, 2013, Salih, 2008). To put this into context, this about the size of Spain (Olsson & Siba, 2013). It is estimated that 6.5 million people live in Darfur (Olsson & Siba, 2013). While Darfur comprises a number of ethnic groups, the population is either categorised as ‘African’ or ‘Arab’ (Olsson & Siba, 2013).

Historically, these self-identified tribes (African and Arab) lived in relative harmony in the Darfur region of Sudan (Ferrales et al., 2016; Hagan et al., 2005; Olsson & Siba, 2013). All Darfuri residents are Sunni Muslims (Salih, 2008). The two main resources in Darfur are surface supplies, such as animals and agricultural crops and underground materials, such as oil and minerals (Salih, 2008, p. 2). Traditionally, the African population in this region relied upon subsistence farming. This is land they historically shared with Arab cattle herders (Hagan et al., 2005; Kaiser & Hagan, 2015). As the largest indigenous ethnic groups, the Fur and Masalit (African tribes) controlled most of the land in the area (as dictated by the customary land tenure system in Darfur). These land areas, referred to as dars, are controlled by the communal leaders of the African tribes (Olsson & Siba, 2013, p. 301). Under this system, Arab nomads, lacking their own dars, rely upon the land of African tribes. They make seasonal movements to access water and land for their herds (Olsson & Siba, 2013, pp. 301–302; see also De Juan, 2015).

Historically, when there was no shortage of land, this system ensured that there were no major clashes between the two groups (Olsson & Siba, 2013; Kaiser & Hagan, 2015). However, waves of drought and desertification put pressure on this system. Increases in migratory movements by Arab nomads (as a result of the environmental changes in the region) resulted in violent clashes between the Arab groups and the African tribes, the Fur and Masalit (De Juan 2015). The Arab groups who had been excluded from the dars during the period leading up to the conflict, joined government forces and other Arab militias to attack and destroy villages, thereby displacing African tribes from their lands (De Juan, 2015; see also Kaiser & Hagan, 2015; Salih, 2008). From this standpoint, as Olsson and Siba (2013, p. 302) point out, the conflict is regarded as a ‘struggle over natural resources’. I will return to this in the latter part of the chapter when we review glocalisation masculinities in Darfur.

In terms of the national political landscape, from the 1970s onwards the government began engaging in nation-building policies. This led to a coup in 1989, leaving President Omar al-Bashir in charge of the country. Under his rule, Sudan implemented policies of Arabisation and Islamisation during the 1990s (Ayers, 2012; Castro, 2018; Hagan & Rymond-Richmond, 2008; Kaiser & Hagan, 2015; Sharkey, 2007). This ‘Arab-Islamic supremacist [imperialist] ideology’ (Hagan & Rymond-Richmond, 2008, p. 880) privileged those regarded as Arab and demeaned those viewed as African. Also, to paraphrase, Hagan & Rymond-Richmond (2008, p. 880), although Darfur is Muslim, this State-led agenda distinguished between Arabs and black Africans, privileging and offering preferential treatment to Arabs over Africans. These policies of forced assimilation resulted in the denial of women’s independent status, the banning of tribal dancing, alcohol, bartering practices and traditional dress codes (Hagan & Rymond-Richmond, 2008). These customs were replaced with Arab traditions. This included speaking Arabic (Hagan & Rymond-Richmond, 2008; see also de Waal, 2005). Added to these cultural and political measures, Darfur (Darfuri Arabs, to be precise) became militarised during this time through the spread of small arms provided by the Libyan government (de Waal, 2005; Sharkey, 2007). As Salih (2008, p. 3) notes, this accumulation of arms occurred during the first wave of drought and desertification which plagued the region during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Within this economic and political milieu, tensions and instability increased culminating in attacks by Darfuri rebel groups against the Sudanese army in 2003 (Castro, 2018; de Waal et al., 2014; Olsson & Siba, 2013; Salih, 2008). The two main rebel groups were The Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) (Abusharaf, 2006; Salih, 2008). The main grievance of the SLM/A was the ‘marginalisation’ of the Darfur region. They argued that it had been neglected politically and economically by the Sudanese government. They also argued that Darfuris had been denied basic rights such as access to healthcare and education (Salih, 2008, p. 7). In response to these attacks by the rebel groups, the Sudanese government engaged in a campaign of terror against civilians in Darfur (Salih, 2008). The Janjaweed, as well as Sudanese soldiers, began destroying ‘African’ villages in Darfur (Ferrales et al., 2016). This involved land attacks (with the use of bombs); sex-selective killing of men; the raping of women; the possession and destruction of property; as well as the theft of food, land and resources (Hagan et al., 2005; Kaiser & Hagan, 2015; Salih, 2008).

The targets of this genocidal violence were ‘African’ tribes: the Masaleit, Zaghawa and Fur (Ferrales et al., 2016, p. 568). The goal of the Arab-dominated Sudanese government was to displace non-Arab African groups by destroying their farms and their villages (Hagan et al., 2005). Two million Africans were displaced and 200,000 fled as refugees to Chad during this two-year period (Hagan et al., 2005). Racial epithets accompanied these attacks. The perpetrators were reported to have said: ‘this is the last day for blacks’ or ‘we will kill all the black-skinned people’ (as cited in Hagan et al., 2005, p. 543). Based on the literature examined here, it is possible to argue that the conflict in Darfur is the result of a combination of factors: government neglect and marginalisation, clashes over resources and State-led racialised and racist policies. Gender also played a part. It is to the latter that we now turn our attention.

The Role of Gender in Sudanese Culture

Gender roles and gendered hierarchies informed the motivations of perpetrators and the experiences of victims during the genocide (see Kaiser & Hagan, 2015). Sudanese gendered identities (within the context of tribal farming communities) are based upon idealised notions of masculinity and femininity (Kaiser & Hagan, 2015). Women’s roles are confined to the domestic sphere and their reproductive capabilities (Kaiser & Hagan, 2015). Following the forced assimilation policies of the 1980s, women’s access to labour opportunities (indeed, their rights generally) were restricted, resulting in women’s economic dependence on their husband (Abusharaf, 2006; de Waal, 2005). Such policies also buttressed heteropatriarchal ideas about the role of Sudanese men as providers and protectors of their families (Kaiser & Hagan, 2015; Willemse, 2007).

In the previous chapter, I reviewed Connell’s (2005) gender hierarchy and her four types of masculine identity: hegemonic, complicit, marginalised and subordinate. Hegemonic masculinity, as the most dominant form of masculinity, is positioned above the others and femininities are always and already positioned below masculinities. Within this framework, hegemonic masculinity is fundamentally based on heterosexuality. Sudan is no exception. The construction of hegemonic masculinity within Sudanese culture reproduces heteronormative ideas about gender and sexuality, where homosexuality is marked as subordinate, inferior and deviant. Indeed, a third offence of homosexuality is punishable by death in Sudan (Ferrales et al., 2016).

As a result of the economic hardship and diminishing resources, men who belonged to the Fur began to migrate both domestically and internationally (Ferrales et al., 2016; see also De Juan, 2015; Salih, 2008). This impacted their ability to safeguard their families. It also prevented them from marrying within their community/tribe (Ferrales et al., 2016). According to Willemse (2007, 2009), this led to a widespread crisis in masculinity which precipitated the violence that followed. Here, we see how poor socioeconomic conditions, caused by drought and desertification, impeded Darfuri men’s ability to perform hegemonic masculinity (this struggle to perform gender role expectations was highlighted in Chapter 2 with reference to men’s experiences in the DRC). This inability to achieve hegemonic masculinity repositions men’s status within the gender hierarchy, associating them with marginalised masculinity. In this instance, we see how external factors, in the form of extreme weather events, inform how and whether men are able to perform/achieve idealised notions of masculinity. In other instances, we see how the State draws on national, political and ethnic/racialised ideologies to manipulate the gender hierarchy. Below I explain this State-led agenda in more detail.

Departing from conventional interpretations of globalisation masculinities, (Connell, 1998, 2005), particularly in relation to conquest and settlement – where colonial and imperial endeavours are enacted by an outside State/colonial power – here I want to narrow the geopolitical lens to think about conquest and settlement within a State, where one group has decided that the other is an ‘outsider’ that needs to be expelled. While socioeconomic conditions relocate certain men within the gender hierarchy (as highlighted above), ethnopolitical Arabisation policies in Sudan base hegemonic masculinity on the Arab, Sudanese (heterosexual) male. Here, localised enactments of conquest, through Islamisation, marginalise African Sudanese men in Darfur. As will be demonstrated in more detail below, during the conflict in Darfur, rape and sexual violence were used by Arab soldiers and the Janjaweed to subordinate (and indeed emasculate) African Darfuri men. I posit that CRSV and SGBV were used to both maintain the Arab version of the gender hierarchy and to enact a localised version of masculinity of conquest and settlement. Let us consider CRSV and SGBV against Darfuri men in more detail.

CRSV and SGBV Against Darfuri men and boys

Based on the narratives of 1,136 Darfuri refugees, Ferrales et al. (2016) analyse CRSV and SGBV against Darfuri men and boys. They draw on data collected by the US State Department through the Atrocities Documentation Survey. Their analysis demonstrates the ways in which the violence(s) of this genocide emasculated (through homosexualisation and feminisation) the targeted group. Their qualitative thematic coding of this data identified the following acts of violence: sex-selective killing, rape, sexual assault and sexualised violence against the body (these are discussed in more detail below). Their coding distinguished between primary victimisation – violence targeted directly against the victim, such as rape and sex-selective killings – and proximate victimisation, which involves witnessing the victimisation of others.

‘They Focused on the Men and Shot Men’3: Sex-selective Killing

Darfuri men were targeted for extermination by the Janjaweed and the government of Sudan (Ferrales et al., 2016; Kaiser & Hagan, 2015). In the words of a Fur woman: ‘[m]en were targeted. Some women were hit at random. But men were targeted and shot’ (as cited in Kaiser & Hagan, 2015, p. 87). Another respondent commented:

I also saw the bodies of about 25 young boys – it seemed they were targeting the men and boys because I heard them say ‘a puppy can become a dog’. (as cited in Ferrales et al., 2016, p. 578)

As noted above, in Sudanese culture, men are regarded as the protectors and bearers of their ethnic group (Ferrales et al., 2016). Therefore, as representatives of their African group, the deliberate targeting of males by members of the Arab tribes – ‘killing members of the group’ – amounts to genocide (see The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 2014). As one example of the violence(s) that took place during this genocide, some argue that the routine killing of Darfuri African farmers was an act of ethnic cleansing informed by two factors: racialised/racist ideologies and shortages in food and water (Kaiser & Hagan, 2015). As well as this genocidal sex-selective killing, men were targeted for various acts of sexualised violence.

Rape as Both Primary and Proximate Victimisation

Groups of soldiers and the Janjaweed would rape Darfuri men either through penile penetration or penetration using objects like sticks (Ferrales et al., 2016). Victims were raped anally and orally. As one 21-year-old Masaleit woman witnessed: ‘[f]our men were raped in the village… These men were then shot and killed… After they killed the men, they raped them anally with sticks’ (as cited in Ferrales et al., 2016, p. 573). They would also insert penises into the mouths of dead victims. In the words of a Fur woman: ‘I saw a young boy and his father dismembered while still alive. They cut off their penises and put them in their mouths’ (Ferrales et al., 2016, p. 574). Darfuri men were also forced to watch the raping of ‘their’ women. As one survivor articulated:

I saw ladies in the village [as I lay wounded] being raped right in front of everyone, even their fathers and their children…We could do nothing, nothing. We had no way to fight’.(Ferrales et al., 2016, pp. 575–576)

Rape not only disempowers individual men who have been emasculated and feminised, it also signifies their inability to fulfill their role as ‘protector’. This communicates a message of symbolic elimination/destruction to the wider group (Ferrales et al., 2016). Proximate victimisation, that results in the displacement of men, transforms symbolic destruction/elimination into a material reality. This results in the ‘physical destruction in whole or in part’ of a group and thus amounts to genocide (see the full definition of genocide in Chapter 1). As articulated by a 36-year-old Zaghawa man:

I ran away because I couldn’t stand to see the women hurt in [the] family…The men gathered in [the] yard to try to defend [them]. The soldiers shot them. The men had nothing to protect the village. (Ferrales et al., 2016, p. 576)

Here, we can rethink Connell’s notion of globalisation masculinities. In this context, conquest and settlement are intrastate endeavours, rather than the colonial or imperial actions of an outside State/nation. Put simply, those who identify as Arab use rape to displace those identified as African in order to take over their land. Rape is also used to influence the gender hierarchy. Informed by State-led Arabisation policies, rape (inducing both primary and proximate victimisation) subordinates men within the gender hierarchy.

Reproductive and Genocidal Violence

The definition of genocide (1948) includes the following element: ‘[i]mposing measures intended to prevent births within the group’ (The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 2014). Enforced sterilisation, through castration, is an example of this. Genital harm, through various acts of sexual torture, can also thwart men’s reproductive capabilities. When enacted deliberately and systematically, this also counts as a form of genocide. It is both a physical and symbolic attack upon men, masculinity and the ‘national, ethnical, racial or religious group’ to which they belong (The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 2014).

In her article on the International Criminal Court and forced pregnancy, Grey (2017) applauds the progress that has been made in terms of the acknowledgement and prosecution of rape and sexual violence as war crimes and crimes against humanity. Echoing my own concerns about the selective focus on these crimes, Grey (2017) laments the invisibility that continues to shroud other types of SGBV. She states: ‘[v]iolence which involves a violation of reproductive autonomy or which is directed at people because of their reproductive capacity, henceforth “reproductive violence”, is one example’ (Grey, 2017, p. 906). Grey’s (2017) notion of ‘reproductive violence’ was discussed in previous chapters (Chapters 1 and 4). Grey (2017) makes it clear that her focus is on females’ experiences of reproductive violence, stating that these harms are often more acute for women and girls.

Reproductive violence, like other types of CRSV, according to Grey (2017), impacts primarily on women and girls. She goes on to argue that her choice to focus on women and girls reflects her ‘interest in women’s distinct experiences of violence and survival’ (Grey, 2017, p. 909). She explains, in depth, that her article:

[…] concentrates on reproductive violence against women and girls in situations of armed conflict. This is not because wartime reproductive violence is necessarily more serious, or more appropriate for international condemnation, than similar conduct in everyday life. However, as international criminal law has historically been applied in conflict settings, it is fitting to focus on those settings as a starting point, while noting that this body of law can also be applied in times of peace. (Grey, 2017, pp. 909–910)

I will begin by unpacking Grey’s first argument, that reproductive violence is more acute for women. As I proposed from the outset, perhaps a more fruitful line of inquiry (as acknowledged by Grey herself) is to explore the unique experiences of males and females, rather than engage in this comparative analysis based on degrees of harm. To her second point, concerning her focus on situations of armed conflict rather than peacetime societies, nowhere in this rationale does Grey account for her decision to overlook males’ experiences of reproductive violence (this oversight is curious given her earlier work in 2013 with Shepherd, discussed above, where Grey acknowledges the invisibility of the male violated body).

Reproductive violence, specifically the sexual mutilation of the male genitals, has occurred throughout history (Sivakumaran, 2007; Solangon & Patel, 2012; Vojdik, 2014). This further problematises contemporary work that excludes their experiences. Sexual mutilation, through castration, can be carried out as part of a genocidal campaign of enforced sterilisation. This occurred during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Sexual mutilation and sexual torture also took place at Abu Ghraib. However, in the case of the latter, this sexualised violence was not genocidal. In the context of Darfur, genital harm (which included injury to the testicles as well as the targeting of the penis) was widespread and systematic (Ferrales et al., 2016). As one Fur survivor recalls:

For seven days, I was detained and tortured by government soldiers. I was made to lie on my back with my hands tied behind my back, ankles tied and they would stomp on my thighs and kick me in the genitals [and I have had] sexual problems ever since. (as cited in Ferrales et al., 2016, p. 576)

A female survivor witnessed five men bleed to death following castration, while other survivors spoke of men having organs dismembered and their ‘genitals cut off’ (Ferrales et al., 2016, p. 261).

It is the argument of Ferrales et al. (2016) that these acts of genital harm (as well as the other acts of CRSV and SGBV discussed above) achieve emasculation through homosexualisation and feminisation. Extending their argument, I argue that they count as forms of reproductive and genocidal violence. Genital harm, whether as an act of symbolic or genocidal violence (see discussion above) violates men’s reproductive autonomy. As an act of reproductive violence (connotating homosexuality), it subordinates men within the gender hierarchy. In addition, and in a similar way to rape, reproductive violence against African men in Darfur speaks to my revised interpretation of Connell’s globalisation masculinities. In terms of conquest and settlement, genital harm, and the emasculation, feminisation and homosexualisation that accompanies this act of reproductive violence, destroys the individual male and the community to which he belongs/represents. Arab males, as part of a larger State-wide policy, are able to conquer and expel African farmers (and their families) through these acts of sexualised genocidal violence.

I will conclude this chapter with a discussion of glocalisation masculinities – my second iteration of Connell’s notion of globalisation masculinities.

Glocalisation masculinities, Genocidal and Reproductive Violence(s) in Darfur

According to Schilling, Saulich & Engwicht (2018, p. 434), ‘[t]he interlinkages between global, national and local dynamics are a recurrent theme in the literature on natural resource governance and conflict’. To capture this relationship, I draw upon (and revise) Howe’s (2008) notion of glocalisation. In its original formation, this concept addresses the relationship between macro-level practices and processes (e.g. globalisation, capitalism) and their impact at the local level. Incorporating gender into the analysis leads me to the concept of glocalisation masculinities. This is understood here as the link between climate variability at the macro-level (resulting in droughts at the local level), institutionalised Arab-Sudanese policies at the meso-level and the use of genocidal violence (rape and sex-selective killing) and reproductive violence at the macro- and micro-levels. We will begin by unpacking the relationship between climate variability and conflict.

There is a growing body of scholarly work, within the Environmental Security literature, that reviews the security implications of climate change, particularly in relation to violent conflict (De Juan, 2015; Detges, 2017; Schilling et al., 2018; Von Uexkull, 2014; Work, 2018).4 Vivekananda, Schilling, Mitra, & Pandey (2014) define environmental security as ‘the absence of risk or threat to the environment a person or community depends on and lives in’ (Vivekananda et al., 2014, p. 1143 as cited in Schilling et al., 2018, p. 437). Risks are either caused by nature (e.g. flooding or landslides) or by humans. The example Schilling et al. (2018) provide for the latter is the pollution of soil and groundwater caused by mining.

Research on the links between conflict and climate change is both quantitative and qualitative (Schilling et al., 2018). The former involves analysing and comparing climate data with conflict data. This is often at regional or national levels. As Schilling et al. (2018) note, quantitative studies cover large geographic areas over long periods of time. The aim is to create a comprehensive database that can be used for correlation purposes (see also De Juan, 2015). Conversely, qualitative research is based on observations, interviews and focus group discussions. A common theme within this work is that ‘drought or other extreme climatic events may serve as catalysts for conflicts over food and water and trigger regional and ethnic tensions to escalate into violent clashes’ (Von Uexkull, 2014, p. 16; see also Schilling et al., 2018). The agricultural sector, which is reliant upon surface and subsurface water supplies, is hit hardest by droughts (see Von Uexkull, 2014). This is of particular concern in Sub-Saharan Africa where (1) droughts have increased in frequency and intensity during the past 50 years (Detges, 2017; Von Uexkull, 2014) and (2) a third of the sub-Saharan African population live in drought-prone regions (Detges, 2017; Von Uexkull, 2014).

Whilst it is not possible to delineate a direct cause-and-effect relationship between climate variability and conflict, writers agree that, combined with pre-existing grievances and tensions (that may be ethnic, political, and/or religious), environmental changes, resulting in drought, are more likely to lead to civil conflict (Von Uexkull, 2014; See also Detges, 2017; Schilling et al., 2018). In the words of Von Uexkull (2014, p. 18):

Where individual economic hardships coincide with other ethnic, class or religious cleavages in society, they may translate into perceptions of relative deprivation felt by a societal group…If economic deprivation is blamed on the government, this may translate into an increased propensity to engage in violence against the [S]tate... Where drought leads to food shortages and falling incomes, joining a rebel group is thus relatively more attractive

This is what occurred in Darfur. The drought added to existing grievances, allowing rebels to motivate actors to take action against the government (Von Uexkull, 2014). Likewise, the Sudanese government offered land to Arab militias who took up arms to fight against rebels (Von Uexkull, 2014). For those impacted by extreme weather events in Darfur, participation in the fighting was a means of securing or gaining resources (Von Uexkull, 2014; see also Castro, 2018; De Juan, 2015; Olsson & Siba, 2013).

As we have established, clashes over land and water resources caused by sustained droughts, was put forward as one of the main reasons for the conflict in Darfur. Here, I review the empirical evidence that supports this correlation. Von Uexkull (2014) conducted a detailed empirical test on drought and conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa between 1989 and 2008 (thus including the conflict in Darfur). Using ‘geo-referenced data’ on conflicts in this area and ‘high-resolution drought data’, his results proved his hypothesis: that there is a positive correlation between drought and conflict. De Juan (2015), using a mix-method approach, also analysed the causal links between environmental change and violent conflict. Narrowing the focus to Darfur, he proposed that this happens in three stages. First there is an increase in migration caused by environmental changes. Second, this migration impacts and alters the demographics of ‘high in-migration’ areas and third, there are increases in competition over resources (De Juan, 2015, p. 23). Combined, these factors, De Juan (2015) argues, ‘…increase the risk of violent interethnic resource conflict’.

For the qualitative data, as well as anecdotal evidence, De Juan (2015) drew on visual geographical patterns. He utilised the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). This correlates with annual rainfall in Sudan and provides satellite imagery of the density and health of vegetation. The higher the NDVI values, the greater the health and density of the vegetation. He used this data to record environmental changes in different parts of Darfur. Using the ‘African Population Database’ he then linked migration patterns within Darfur to the environmental changes recorded by the NDVI. According to De Juan’s (2015) data, areas most impacted by in-migration were characterised by violent clashes. For the quantitative analysis, De Juan (2015) used data collated by the US State Department’s ‘Humanitarian Information Unit (HIU)’, which contained information on the villages that were attacked during the conflict. Linking all three data sets, his results ‘[lend] consistent support to the assumption that long-term environmental change has contributed to shaping the dynamics of violence in Darfur’ (De Juan, 2015, p. 31). And finally, Detges (2017, p. 95) also ran an empirical test, investigating the links between drought and political violence in Sub-Saharan Africa. His findings ‘support the argument that political exclusion exacerbates climate-related hardships and can thus give rise to social tensions and grievances in the wake of drought’.

It is my argument that in order to fully understand the conflict in Darfur, and the genocidal, reproductive violence(s) that were carried out, we need to unpack the relationship between all of these factors. At the macro-level, we need to consider the impact of climate variability and the extreme weather events it leads to, such as droughts. This impacts individuals and communities at the local level. As demonstrated above, these weather events can cause clashes that lead to civil war, as in the case of Darfur. However, we must proceed with caution. Environmental factors alone do not cause conflict. They work in tandem with preexisting grievances. In Darfur, at the meso-level institutionalised ethnopolitical Arabisation policies and the manipulation of the gender hierarchy were used to marginalise African Darfuri men. Gendered relations and hierarchies, as well as racialised enactments of masculinity, coalesced with resource insecurity, resulting in the uprising of the two main rebel groups: the SLM/A and the JEM. This marked the beginnings of the conflict. During the conflict, rape, sex-selective killing and reproductive violence, as tools of genocide, were used at both the macro- and the micro-levels. Sex-selective killing and reproductive violence were widespread and systematic. They formed part of a genocidal campaign of conquest and settlement. They can be placed at the macro-level. At the micro-level, these acts of genocidal and reproductive violence subordinated individual men within the gender hierarchy. These acts of violence were informed by, and in turn shaped, gender relations and the gender hierarchy in Darfur. Ethnopolitical, cultural, racial and environmental forces (as outlined above), in line with the Sudanese gender hierarchy (and local masculinities of conquest and settlement), are implicated in the CRSV and SGBV that took place during the conflict. Combined, these multi-level, interrelated factors, account for the origins and the nature of violence(s) that took place during the conflict in Darfur.


In this chapter, I have examined how, historically, the human security framework reproduces gender essentialism confirming the ontological construction of women (read civilian) as vulnerable, weak and in need of protection. In contradistinction, this biopolitical narrative (as illustrated in the various UNSCRs outlined above) necessarily views male victimisation as an ontological and material impossibility. The implications of this exclusion for male survivors were discussed. Challenging these reductive and essentialist assumptions, Clark (2017) confronts the uncomfortable reality of male vulnerability, specifically the vulnerability of the penis. Clark (2017) is not alone – numerous scholars have highlighted the emasculating and feminising effect of male-to-male rape and sexual violence and the difficulties men face in reporting such violence, not least due to laws criminalising homosexuality (Apperley, 2015; Christian et al., 2011; Clark, 2017; Gorris, 2015; Lewis, 2009; Solangon & Patel, 2012; Storr, 2011; Touquet & Gorris, 2016; UN SRSG-SVC, 2013; Vojdik, 2014). Others have drawn attention to the sex-selective, systematic killing of battle-aged men (Carpenter, 2005, 2006; Jones, 2000, 2002); the various types of CRSV and SGBV they are subjected to during war/armed conflict and finally, researchers have drawn attention to the SEA of unaccompanied and separated children (Digidiki & Bhabha, 2018; Freccero et al., 2017; Mason-Jones & Nicholson, 2018).

This work offers a rebuttal to the statement made by Major General Patrick Cammaert: ‘it is now more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in armed conflict’. While, as noted earlier, the statement is based upon a comparison between the experiences of civilian women and male soldiers – affording his cynicism some credence – it is still possible to take issue with this comment. Here, I return briefly to my argument about disproportionality raised in the Introduction (something I will return to in the Conclusion). My suggestion is that we move away from focusing on degrees of harm. I propose that we abandon our preoccupation with questions of who suffers more/for whom is the impact greater? I advocate that we spend more time unpacking the unique ways in which men and women suffer; that we dedicate more energy into unpacking the qualitative and material differences in how males and females experience and survive war/armed conflict. Why not examine how constructions of masculinities and femininities inform how the genders experience war/armed conflict? To assume that all women will suffer more or less than all men is reductive and homogenises the experiences of both genders.

I raised my concerns about these types of comparative analyses in relation to Grey’s (2017) argument that women suffer reproductive violence more acutely than men. While I do not take issue with her claim per se, oftentimes these statements appear as throw away comments where no follow up comment is offered explaining why or how the author arrived at such a conclusion. Why is it women suffer more acutely? Why are men’s experiences of reproductive violence less acute? On the contrary, in this chapter, I examined how and why men’s experiences might be different.

This chapter provided an in-depth analysis of the causes and the nature of the genocide in Darfur. Acts of genocidal (rape and sex-selective killing) and reproductive violence (genital harm) enacted by the State, the military and the Janjaweed, were explained by my alternative reading of Connell’s globalisation masculinities and my notion of glocalisation masculinities.

The Janjaweed are an Arab militia. The term itself means ‘…men with guns on horses or camels…colloquially used by Africans to mean devil on horseback…’ (Hagan et al., 2005, p. 530).

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) defines an unaccompanied child as a person under the age of 18 ‘who is separated from both parents and [is] not being cared for by an adult who, by law or custom, is responsible to do so’ (UNHCR, 1997, p. 1).

Masaleit woman cited in Kaiser and Hagan (2015, p. 87).

See Homer-Dixon (n.d.) who has written extensively on environmental scarcity and violent conflict. See also Klem 2003 who has written a report Dealing with Scarcity and violent conflict based on the 2003 conference of the same name).