The Current

ISIS sexual violence is an act of terrorism, says former CIA analyst

The sexual violence against women caught in the grip of ISIS has been almost invisible in the strategic and policy discussions on how to deal with the threat of jihadist brutality. A former CIA analyst says it is time to treat sexual violence as an act of terrorism, no less tactical or devastating than a suicide bombing or a beheading....
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The sexual violence against women caught in the grip of ISIS has been almost invisible in the strategic and policy discussions on how to deal with the threat of jihadist brutality. A former CIA analyst says it is time to treat sexual violence as an act of terrorism, no less tactical or devastating than a suicide bombing or a beheading.

These terrorists are unique in their brutality. They kill children. They enslave, rape and force women into marriage.U.S. President Barack Obama

The ISIS militants have carved out large portions of Iraq and Syria with bombings, suicide attacks, and beheadings. The mayhem is almost incomprehensible, but one under-reported aspect is the rampant sexual violence. Not only against women, but against men.

Aki Peritz believes sexual violence deserve greater attention since its all part of the group's terror tactics. Aki Peritz is a former CIA analyst whose work focussed on the conflict in Iraq. He is also the author of a book Find, Fix, Finish: Inside the Counter-Terrorism Campaigns that Killed bin Laden and Devastated Al Qaeda.


Rape has been a feature of war long before gunpowder, probably even long before the wheel. Our next guest is well aware of the trauma sexual violence brings to victims, communities and nations. But Doris Buss warns that calling it an act of terror could be dangerous.

Doris Buss is the Associate Professor at the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University.


What do you think? Should sexual violence should be treated as an act of terrorism, in the same way that a suicide bombing or beheading is?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Naheed Mustafa and Sarah Grant.



sarajevo-thumbnail.jpgFrom The Current Archives in April 2012

Returning to Bosnia-Herzegovina twenty years after the war began, Anna Maria Tremonti traces the lives of two mothers whose children are the legacy of days when rape was used as a weapon of war.

Have a listen to the award-winning documentary, Born of War.



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