Ideologies of Forgetting

Rape in the Vietnam War

By Gina Marie Weaver

Subjects: Women's Studies, Cultural Critique, Violence, Feminist
Series: SUNY series in Feminist Criticism and Theory
Paperback : 9781438429984, 216 pages, March 2010
Hardcover : 9781438429991, 216 pages, March 2010

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Table of contents

Preface: A Postwar Look at Vietnam


1. Silencing: Erasure of Rape in the Vietnam War

2. Vietnamese Voices: Accounts of War-Time Sexual Trauma

3. “Already Bullets”: American Witnesses to Wartime Rape and Sexual Abuse

4. Naming Themselves: Sexual Abuse in Vietnam Veterans’ Antiwar Literature

5. Victimized Veterans and Disappearing Women: The Vietnam War Film

Afterword: Legacies


First book to study rape and sexual abuse of Vietnamese women by U. S. soldiers during the Vietnam War.


Rape has long been a part of war, and recent conflicts in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur demonstrate that it may be becoming an even more integral strategy of modern warfare. In contrast to the media attention to sexual violence against women in these recent conflicts, however, the incidence and consequences of rape in the Vietnam War have been largely overlooked. Using testimony, oral accounts, literature, and film, Ideologies of Forgetting focuses on the rape and sexual abuse of Vietnamese women by U. S. soldiers during the Vietnam war, and argues that the erasure and elision of these practices of sexual violence in the U. S. popular imagination perpetuates the violent masculinity central to contemporary U. S. military culture. Gina Marie Weaver claims that recognition of this violence is important not just for an accurate historical record, but also to truly understand the Vietnam veteran's trauma, which often stems from his aggression rather than his victimization.

Gina Marie Weaver is Assistant Professor of English at Southern Nazarene University.