Violating the State Body: Sexual Violence and Control in the Sri Lankan Civil War as Nation-Building in the Body Politic


Abstract


This article examines the use of sexual violence and rape during the Sri Lankan civil war by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL), as well as the control of sexuality by the insurgent force by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). While in both circumstances male bodies were also victims of sexual violence by the state, particularly when in custody, or forced celibacy, I specifically examine the political imaginaries which surrounded female bodies during and since the defeat of the LTTE in 2009 as forms of nation-building and state cartographic practices. Following Matthew H. Edney’s (2007) observation on the connected imaginaries of mapped bodies and female bodies, as they can be claimed and controlled in much the same way, I argue that sexual violence and/ or control becomes a form of nation-building. I suggest that the Sri Lankan civil war can tell us much about the violence required in nation-building.


DOI Code: 10.1285/i20398573v5n1p157

Keywords: Postcolonial; Nation Building; Sexual Violence; Sri Lanka; State Violence

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