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Books | The Guardian ([info]theguardianbook) wrote,
@ 2020-02-26 07:30:00

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Our Bodies, Their Battlefield by Christina Lamb review – groundbreaking on women and war

Rape is as much a weapon of war as a Kalashnikov ... the acclaimed foreign correspondent has written a harrowing but vital book

As a junior researcher on a TV documentary in Uganda in 1986, I was told to ask a question that was the dark cliche of war reporting: “Anyone here been raped and speak English?” To my horror, a teenage girl stepped shyly forward, eyes cast downwards. Since then, I have come across hundreds of women raped in wars around the world – and I have found kinder ways of establishing if they want to tell their story.

In her harrowing new book, foreign correspondent Christina Lamb explains that rape in conflict is often seen as a “private crime”, an incidental atrocity, when it is “as much of a weapon of war as the machete, club or Kalashnikov”. She gives priority to the stories of individual women, many of whom feel validated by speaking out, but understands why other victims remain silent. Often they feel ashamed, or fear ostracism from their own communities. “You won’t find these women’s names in the history books or on the war memorials,” Lamb writes. “But to me they are the real heroes.”

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