Genocide, Civilian Suffering

Currently being almost at the end of Killing Civilians by Hugo Slim, I’m quite disturbed. This book has hit on many touchy topics varying from how civilians suffer in war, ideologies of the violence and strategies used, and rape/ sexual violence. The whole book however is on the subject of genocides. A topic that I didn’t know a lot about before reading this book. The author, Hugo Slim analyzes all of the different components that have happened in some of the most tragic genocides in history. I found that reading about them opened up my eyes to better understand these events and what really occurred.

“The second sphere of civilian suffering also involves direct physical attack upon the person” (Slim 60). In specific stories such as the Japanese mass rape in the City of Nanking, the detail is gruesome and difficult to read. You almost get put in their shoes and experience what they did. “Age of patients ranged from 3-36… 47% of rape victims being less than 18 years old”, was the quote that stood out to me the most in this section. Only reading the first part of the sentence and hearing that the youngest age of a rape victim was 3 sounded so inhumane I paused and questioned if this statistic was even correct or not. I couldn’t believe what I was reading in this chapter. It was written to almost sound like a norm at the time and happened in many different war countless times. Women and children were said to have been dragged through the streets, demoralized, and beaten sometimes to death. Even worse, countless of these women were said to have committed suicide after experiencing sexual violence. It gave me chills to read about the horrors that occurred. The analyzation of using sexual violence seems to stem from “power.” To have power over the enemy was a major strategy used during war. It was almost like the goal was to do whatever it took to make the enemy feel completely powerless.

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