Visibility and Vulnerability: Deconstructing Representations of Rape in the Context of War in Democratic Republic of the Congo
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My work explores protracted conflict in DR Congo representationally, considering ways in which conflict is thematized in Western media around sexual violence. I use content and text mining to think through the role of framing in media, and conduct discourse analysis tracing how rape in the context of war has become instrumentalized by Western media to make sense of and justify interventions in the conflict in DR Congo. Specifically I examine forty-two articles published in diverse sources containing the phrase "rape capital of the world" to uncover links between violence, gender, and power. This thesis is generally situated within a postmodern feminist critique of overemphasis on rape and sexual violence as a universal narrative about women’s lives. My policy recommendation is stop implementing laws singling out rape in the context of war as a unique assault, because they enforce female vulnerability and injurability by representing women as victims/pre-victims of SGBV.