Listening to the Silences: Women and War


Editors: Helen Durham and Tracey Gurd
Challenging the perception that women are exclusively the victims, the caregivers or the passive supporters of men in times of armed conflict, Listening to the Silences: Women and War exposes the reader to a diversity of women’s voices. These voices, both personal and academic, demonstrate that women are increasingly taking on less ‘traditional’ roles during war, and that these roles are multifaceted, complicated and sometimes contradictory.
The experiences of a judge, forensic anthropologist, survivor of sexual slavery, soldier, activist, journalist, humanitarian worker and others provide the reader with the opportunity to consider the depth of women’s involvement in armed conflict. Their voices highlight the fact that the international community at large has historically failed to listen to women, even as they have tried to tell their own individual tales of horror, heroism, courage, devastation, betrayal, violence and integrity during armed conflict. Concurrently the book examines in detail the legal infrastructure in this area, including debates on the adequacy of international law; developments in jurisprudence and the implementation of international resolutions.
This book reveals that responses to women’s requirements during times of war will continue to be inadequate so long as we persist in silencing these differing perspectives and fail to take account of women’s dynamic and changing needs during war.
Listening to the Silences: Women and War is a collection of women’s voices, each of which makes a unique contribution to a topic that is gathering international momentum and interest.
The perspectives of these women greatly enhance our understanding of the gendered dimensions of armed conflict - they help to move the discourse beyond silence and towards inclusion, greater understanding and peace.

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Helen Durham is the Legal Adviser for the International Committee of the Red Cross Regional Delegation for the Pacific. She has a Law and Arts degree (1992) and a Doctorate of Juridical Science (1999) from The University of Melbourne. Tracey Gurd works as a Program Coordinator with the International Justice section of the Open Society Justice Initiative in New York. She received a combined Law and Arts degree from A.N.U. (Canberra, 1998) and her Masters in Public and International Law (2002) from The University of Melbourne.
Foreword Navanethem Pillay; Acknowledgements; Preface Helen Durham and Tracey Gurd; Part I Listening to Women’s Voices: 1 The Cry of the Raped: 50 Years of Silence Jan Ruff-O’Herne; 2 The Roses Mimi Doretti; 3 Combat Operations in Iraq: An Australian Soldier’s Perspective Penny Cumming; 4 The Impact of Armed Conflict on Women Charlotte Lindsey; 5 Sri Lanka First: The Business of Peace Neela Marikkar; 6 Women’s Role in Peacemaking: A Personal Experience Luz Méndez; Part II How Does Law and Practice Affect How We Hear Women’s Voices?: 7 Sexual Violence During Wartime Radhika Coomaraswamy; 8 Gender-Based Violence Among Conflict Affected Populations: Humanitarian Program Responses Jeanne Ward; 9 Reporting on Women During Armed Conflict: A Journalist’s View Maggie O’Kane; 10 International Humanitarian Law and the Protection of Women Helen Durham; 11 Women and Armed Conflict: The Response of International Humanitarian Law Judith Gardam; 12 The Jurisprudence of International War Crimes Tribunals: Securing Gender Justice for Some Survivors Kelly Askin; 13 The Other Voices: Interpreters and Investigators of Sexual Violence in International Criminal Proceedings Patricia Viseur-Sellers; 14 Small Conversations Can Lead to Big Changes Georgina McEncroe; 15 Facilitating Women’s Voices in Truth Recovery: An Assessment of Women’s Participation and the Integration of a Gender Perspective in Truth Commissions Hayli Millar; Part III How Can We Use Women’s Voices to Create and Perpetuate Peace and Security?: 16 Engendering the Peace Process: Women’s Role in Peace Building and Conflict Resolution Li Fung; 17 Fine Lines of Transformation: Afghan Women Working For Peace Rina Amiri; 18 Moving Beyond Silence: Women Waging Peace Swanee Hunt.