Janus in the Metropole: Moroccan Soldiers and Sexual Violence Against Women in the Spanish Civil War


Approximately 80,000 Moroccan men fought on the side of Franco in the Spanish Civil War. When the colonial wars ended, those men were recruited from very poor villages (some of them at the age of 16). Although the core collective memory that remains about those Moroccan troops (‘the Regulars’) concerns absolute cruelty, particularly towards women, they also form part of the history of the Spanish colonisation. During the Civil War, Franco’s General Queipo de Llano promised that the ‘castrated’ Republican soldiers’ women would know about the ‘virility’ of those Moroccan troops. Departing from fragmented historical data, this contribution presents a brief critical victimological analysis of grey zones and ‘Janus’ characters to better understand the complexities of victim and victimiser that overlap in the contexts of victimhood, accountability, colonisation, war and violence against women.

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Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Published: 2021-12-01
Pages:78 to 89
Section:Special Issue: Criminalisation and the Violence(s) of the State
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How to Cite
Varona, G. (2021) “Janus in the Metropole: Moroccan Soldiers and Sexual Violence Against Women in the Spanish Civil War”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 10(4), pp. 78-89. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.1997.

Author Biography

University of the Basque Country

Gema Varona is a lecturer in Victimology and Criminal Policy at the University of the Basque Country and senior researcher at the Basque Institute of Criminology (Donostia/San Sebastian, Spain). In 1998 she was honoured with the Junior Scholar Competition Award of the International Society of Criminology. Former coordinator of the degree in criminology (2013-2017), current coordinator of the UPV/EHU MOOC on Victimology (2016-present), and co-director of the Master in Victimology of that University (2014-present), she is also the co-editor of the Journal of Victimology/Revista de Victimología. She has authored books and articles on migration and human rights, restorative justice, violence against women, victims of terrorism, and victims of sexual abuse.