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Military Intimacies. Peruvian veterans and narratives about sex and violence

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Jelke Boesten, Lurgio Gavilán

Original languageEnglish
Accepted/In press17 Nov 2022

King's Authors


This paper explores how sex and violence were part of the everyday making of the soldier in the Peruvian armed forces during the Internal Armed Conflict between 1980 and 2000. In-depth interviews with Peruvian veterans indicate the importance of sex and violence in soldiers’ experience of becoming a combatant. The paper analyses the ambiguity in soldiers’ narratives about sex and violence, coercion, and consent, and how they are implicated in both receiving and enacting sexualised violence. In particular, the paper discusses veterans’ accounts of collective experiences of sexualised hazing, abuse of women and girls, porn and prostitution, and references to gang rape. The paper argues that soldiers, while in the army, experience intimacy through performative practices of sex and violence which profoundly affects their interaction with each other, and the violence they perpetrate against enemy populations. These military intimacies, encouraged through institutional as well as cultural practices, help explain the prevalence of widespread sexual violence during the conflict.

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