Our Bodies, Their Battlefield is excellent but harrowing so make sure you are in the right emotional and mental headspace before tackling it.
Written by a respected journalist and war correspondent this book looks at the experiences of women during war time, not as wives and mothers of soldiers, or even as soldiers themselves, but specifically as victims of rape. She convincingly shows how rape is used as a systematic weapon of war, one that is all too often overlooked and ignored by men and male dominated institutions like the the International Criminal Court. The work of Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynaecologist who treats women raped in war, is a notable and laudable exception.
In this book Lamb documents the use of rape (to humiliate, to inspire fear, to depopualte an area, to bond soldiers and more) and the impact of rape. Not only do women suffer emotionally from the actual rapes but they can then face ostracism from their own communities that blame them for the attacks. This is on top of some horrific physical injuries and unwanted pregnancies. All of the accounts are horrendous, some especially so. Many of the conflicts and groups discussed will be all too familiar - Rwanda, the Rohingya in Burma, the attacks by Boko Haram, the atrocities against Muslims in Bosnia - but others are more historic. In fact Lamb documents the use of rape as a weapon of war in Roman times and in the Bible.
The bravery of the women in telling their stories and of Lamb in ensuring those stories reached a wide audience is to be commended. It is now up to readers to be brave enough to read them, and then to take action so that women war victims get the help they need and deserve and, that those who offend against women are held to account.