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Keywords:

  • torture;
  • feminism;
  • religious;
  • human rights;
  • rape

ABSTRACT

Feminists look critically at any infliction of pain on others, usually requiring that it be consensual, and often both consensual and for the benefit of the person afflicted. Most torture of women is not recognized under official definitions of torture because it is not performed by or with the consent of (government) officials. Women are, however, also victims of torture under official definitions as military or civilian prisoners or as members of defeated populations in war, and are more often subjected to sexual torture, which until recently has not been understood either as torture or even a war crime. Rape, especially serial gang rape, it is argued, should be understood as torture, as the essence of torture is the use of severe pain to obscure or obliterate the victim's sense of agency.