Masculinity, Male Bodies and Victimhood in the Context of Counter-Terrorism in North-eastern Nigeria


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Political Science


What happens to expressions and meanings of masculinity in the event of conflict-related sexual violence (CSRV) against men and boys? How might we progressively study masculinities in ways that nuances critical understandings on CSRV beyond gendered assumptions and stereotypes around innocence, victimhood, and violability of specific bodies? Debates on CRSV have been marked by a strong focus on women and girls; thus, men as gendered subjects have not been accounted for. This study will draw on interviews conducted with male victims, humanitarian workers, and government officials in north-east Nigeria, a context widely noted for terrorist violence. This study argues for a more critical understanding of what it may mean to be a male victim of CSRV. In Nigeria, where dominant perceptions link male sexual violence to being gay, the study problematises how disclosure of CSRV may further expose a man’s masculinity to a particularly precarious situation and even socio-legal persecution.