Rape has been a consequence of military defeat for millennia. But in the last 20 years -- from Bosnia to Rwanda, from Colombia to the Democratic Republic of Congo -- sexual violence against women, and sometimes even against men, has become a strategic military tactic designed to humiliate victims and shatter enemy societies. And increasingly, governments presiding over peaceful countries are using mass rape in deliberate and targeted campaigns to spread terror and humiliation among political dissenters, often during election seasons. The strategic use of rape has been recognized by international courts as an act of genocide and ethnic cleansing. The United Nations is working to change the mindset that wartime rape is inevitable, urging governments to end the violence and prosecute perpetrators. But silence and shame shroud the issue, and some governments that deny wartime rape occurs in their countries have banned international aid groups that treat their citizens who have been victimized. This spring, the United Nations' first special representative for sexual violence began a two-year campaign to help curb the crime. But experts say strategic rape won't be easy to eradicate.