Between Agency and Subjugation: Female LTTE Combatants in the Sri Lankan Conflict and Post-war Situation
This chapter presents an overview of the different arguments in the prevailing literature without passing any judgement on the legitimacy or otherwise of the violence described. It discusses why women joined the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the armed conflict in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan conflict has long historical roots, separatist war between the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka between 1983 and 2009, when the Sri Lanka Armed Forces defeated the LTTE militarily. Gender identities, roles and relationships are subject to considerable change as a consequence of conflict and thus need a detailed understanding of the interrelationship between gender and armed conflict. Conceptually and theoretically, the literature on women fighters situates itself around a debate on victimisation and empowerment. Women join armed groups for a variety of reasons that do not seem to differ much from those of men, apart from protection against sexual and gender-based violence, and arranged marriages that are specific to women.