‘Hoeveel wreekt de bruidegom de bruid’ | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 129, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



Members of the Dutch armed forces committed various acts of sexual violence, from exploitation to assault and rape, against Indonesian civilians during the decolonisation war of 1945-1950. Based on new research in archives and the egodocuments of veterans, which unearthed 79 cases of sexual violence, this article argues that although the Dutch army never used sexual violence as a tool of war, it nevertheless was an integral part of its military presence. While aware of the problem, military and judicial authorities repeatedly failed to curb the practice or press charges against perpetrators. Secondly, this article analyses the historical and cultural background against which this sexual violence occurred, in order to better explain why some servicemen sexually violated women. Finally, it looks into possible new directions for further research on this sexual violence and the problems and limitations of writing about such a controversial topic.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): decolonisation; Indonesia; Netherlands; sexual violence; war crimes
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