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Miller, Sarah Clark. Moral Injury and Relational Harm: Analyzing Rape in Darfur
2009, Journal of Social Philosophy, 40 (4): 504-523.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord

Abstract: Rather than focusing on the legal and political questions that surround genocidal rape, in this paper I treat a vital area of inquiry that has received much less attention: the moral significance of genocidal rape. My aim is to augment existing moral accounts of rape in order to address the specific contexts of genocidal rape. I move beyond understanding rape primarily as a violation of an individual’s interests or agential abilities. The account I offer builds on these approaches (as well as on a pluralist approach), by arguing that rape, as a moral injury, negatively affects the very human dignity of victims. My account also emphasizes the relational harm that marks genocidal rape.

Comment: This paper offers a compelling argument about the harm of rape as a means of inflicting genocidal violence, via an analysis of the widespread rapes in Darfur. While the text does not concern itself with the legal aspects of rape as a crime against humanity, it would lend itself well to a course concerning crimes against humanity, international criminal law, or the ethics of war. Additionally, it could be taught within the context of a course that discusses what sort of harm rape constitutes.

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