Boko Haram Insurgency and Gendered Victimhood: Women as Corporal Victims and Objects of War

  • Citation: Al Chukwuma Okoli & Stephen Nnaemeka Azom (2019) Boko Haram insurgency and gendered victimhood: women as corporal victims and objects of war, Small Wars & Insurgencies, 30:6-7, 1214-1232
    • Topics:
    • Conflict and Security
    • Keywords:
    • Nigeria
    • Boko Haram
    • gender
    • insurgency
    • objectification
    • women
    • victimhood

Boko Haram insurgency in North East Nigeria has exposed women (girls, ladies, and mothers) to a complex jeopardy. While some women have suffered untimely widowhood or child-lack as a result of the Boko Haram onslaught, others have suffered death, forced abduction, and allied assaults on the main and side lines of the insurgency. Oftentimes, women have faced direct violence that essentially degrade their humanity. This is evident in the deployment of women as war-front sex slaves, human shields, and suicide bombers by the insurgents. The virtual expendability of women in the context of Boko Haram insurgency has been vividly demonstrated by the gale of female suicide bombings in Nigeria over the recent years. By means of a textual and contextual analysis of library sources and/or documentary data, as well as an adroit application of the theory of objectification, this study posits that, in addition to suffering collateral vulnerabilities, women have equally been instrumentalized as objects of terror in the context of Boko Haram insurgency. The paper further argues that the ‘weaponization’ of women’s bodies as bomb vessels and human shields by the insurgents highlights the height of women’s corporal victimization and objectification in contemporary asymmetric warfare.

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