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SV against women

Gender Norms, Poverty and Armed Conflict in Cote D’Ivoire: Engaging Men in Women’s Social and Economic Empowerment Programming


Falb, K. L., J. Annan, E. King, J. Hopkins, D. Kpebo, and J. Gupta. 2014. “Gender Norms, Poverty and Armed Conflict in Cote D’Ivoire: Engaging Men in Women’s Social and Economic Empowerment Programming.” Health Education Research 29 (6): 1015–27. doi:10.1093/her/cyu058.

Authors: J. Annan, E. King, J. Hopkins, D. Kpebo, J. Gupta, K. L. Falb


Engaging men is a critical component in efforts to reduce intimate partner violence (IPV). Little is known regarding men’s perspectives of approaches that challenge inequitable gender norms, particularly in settings impacted by armed conflict. This article describes men’s experiences with a women’s empowerment program and highlights men’s perceptions of gender norms, poverty and armed conflict, as they relate to achieving programmatic goals. Data are from 32 Ivorian men who participated in indepth interviews in 2012. Interviews were undertaken as part of an intervention that combined gender dialogue groups for both women and their male partners with women’s only village savings and loans programs to reduce IPV against women. Findings suggested that in the context of armed conflict, traditional gender norms and economic stressors experienced by men challenged fulfillment of gender roles and threatened men’s sense of masculinity. Men who participated in gender dialogue groups discussed their acceptance of programming and identified improvements in their relationships with their female partners. These men further discussed increased financial planning along with their partners, and attributed such increases to the intervention. Addressing men’s perceptions of masculinity, poverty and armed conflict may be key components to reduce men’s violence against women in conflict-affected settings.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gender Budgeting, Households, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, SV against women, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Côte D'Ivoire

Year: 2014

The Nairobi Declaration: Redefining Reparation for Women Victims of Sexual Violence


Couillard, Valérie. 2007. “The Nairobi Declaration: Redefining Reparation for Women Victims of Sexual Violence.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 1 (3): 444–53. doi:10.1093/ijtj/ijm030.

Author: Valérie Couillard


This paper explores the contribution of the Nairobi Declaration on the Right of Women and Girls to a Remedy and Reparation to the problem of delivering justice through reparation programmes for women victims of sexual violence in conflict situations. It highlights that this civil society initiative is particularly significant because it gives voice to women and girls who are survivors of sexual violence. Placed in the context of the recent adoption by the United Nations' General Assembly of the Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, the Nairobi Declaration redefines reparation and guides policy-making to implement the right to reparation specifically for victims of sexual violence. The concept of reparation as a transformative and participative process put forward in the Nairobi Declaration constitutes its most innovative and inspiring contribution.

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Women, International Law, International Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law IHL, Justice, Reparations, Sexual Violence, SV against women Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 2007

Violence Against Women in Ethiopia


Kedir, Abbi and Lul Admasachew. 2010. “Violence Against Women in Ethiopia.” Gender, Place & Culture 17 (4): 437–52. doi:10.1080/0966369X.2010.485832.

Authors: Abbi Kedir, Lul Admasachew


Investigating the experience of violence against women and exploring women's coping strategies is a crucial component of re-tailoring the provision of services for victims/survivors. This article explores violence against women in the context of culture, theory of fear of violence and literature on spaces perceived to be ‘safe’ or ‘dangerous’ by women victims/survivors of violence in Ethiopia. To collect the relevant data, we conducted 14 semi-structured interviews with Ethiopian women who are victims/survivors of violence and three interviews with gender experts in Ethiopia. Our group of women suffer in ‘silence’ and confide only in friends and relatives. They did not resort to institutional support due to lack of awareness and general societal disapproval of such measures. This contrasts with claims by experts that the needs of these women are addressed using an institutional approach. Culture, migration status and lack of negotiating power in places of work are key factors when considering violence. The majority of the respondents in this study occupy both public and private spaces such as bars and homes and have experienced violence in those spaces. The social relations and subsequent offences they endured do not make spaces such as these safe. Education of both sexes, creation of awareness, sustainable resource allocation to support victims/survivors, ratification of the Maputo protocol and effective law enforcement institutions are some of the practical strategies we propose to mitigate the incidence of violence in Ethiopia.

Keywords: violence, women, ethiopia, victim/survivor

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Health, Trauma, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma, Sexual Violence, SV against women, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Ethiopia

Year: 2010

When the Personal Becomes Political: Using Legal Reform to Combat Violence against Women in Ethiopia


Burgess, Gemma Lucy. 2012. “When the Personal Becomes Political: Using Legal Reform to Combat Violence against Women in Ethiopia.” Gender, Place & Culture 19 (2): 153–74. doi:10.1080/0966369X.2011.573142.

Author: Gemma Lucy Burgess


This article focuses on Ethiopia's first civil society organisation, the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA), which has been campaigning for legal reform to secure women's rights and address violence against women. Implementing legal changes to benefit women in Ethiopia is impeded by difficulties in using the formal legal system, by poverty and deeply embedded gender inequalities, by plural legal systems, and by entrenched cultural norms. However, the article argues that the most significant challenge is the increasing degree of authoritarianism in Ethiopian state politics, that this is crucial in determining the space for activism, and that this shapes the successful implementation of legal change. The research shows how women's activism around personal rights challenges public/private and personal/political boundaries and can be seen as a political threat by governments in contexts where democracy and rule of the law are not embedded, leading to repression of women's activism and hindering the implementation of measures to protect women's rights when states become more authoritarian. Little is known empirically about the impact of democratisation on the implementation of measures to protect women's rights in Africa. This article shows how the emergence of democracy and legal reform intersects with the emergence of women's rights, especially with respect to gender-based violence. It shows how trying to secure women's personal right to be free from violence through the law is profoundly political and argues that the nature of democratisation really matters in terms of the implementation of measures such as legal changes designed to protect women's rights.

Keywords: ethiopia, legal reform, women's rights, Violence against women, activism

Topics: Civil Society, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, SV against women, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Ethiopia

Year: 2012

Enduring Violence: Ladina Women’s Lives in Guatemala


Menjívar, Cecilia. 2011. Enduring Violence: Ladina Women’s Lives in Guatemala. Oakland: University of California Press.

Author: Cecilia Menjívar


Drawing on revealing, in-depth interviews, Cecilia Menjívar investigates the role that violence plays in the lives of Ladina women in eastern Guatemala, a little-visited and little-studied region. While much has been written on the subject of political violence in Guatemala, Menjívar turns to a different form of suffering—the violence embedded in institutions and in everyday life so familiar and routine that it is often not recognized as such. Rather than painting Guatemala (or even Latin America) as having a cultural propensity for normalizing and accepting violence, Menjívar aims to develop an approach to examining structures of violence—profound inequality, exploitation and poverty, and gender ideologies that position women in vulnerable situations— grounded in women’s experiences. In this way, her study provides a glimpse into the root causes of the increasing wave of feminicide in Guatemala, as well as in other Latin American countries, and offers observations relevant for understanding violence against women around the world today.

(University of California Press)

Keywords: sociology, gender studies

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, UNSCR 1960, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, SV against women, Violence Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Guatemala

Year: 2011

Women in an Insecure World

"DCAF’s 45-minute film, "Women in an Insecure World," explores the lives of women behind the stories: why does a woman decide to abort her female foetus, how do communities come to reject female genital mutilation, how does a woman pick up the pieces after being forced into prostitution or raped during war, or when she is beaten inside her home?"

Situating Sexual Violence in Rwanda (1990-2001): Sexual Agency, Sexual Consent, and the Political Economy of War


Bumet, Jennie E. 2012. “Situating Sexual Violence in Rwanda (1990–2001): Sexual Agency, Sexual Consent, and the Political Economy of War.” African Studies Review 55 (2): 97–118. doi:10.1353/arw.2012.0034.


Author: Jennie E. Bumet


This article situates the sexual violence associated with the Rwandan civil war and 1994 genocide within a local cultural history and political economy in which institutionalized gender violence shaped the choices of Rwandan women and girls. Based on ethnographic research, it argues that Western notions of sexual consent are not applicable to a culture in which colonialism, government policy, war, and scarcity of resources have limited women's access to land ownership, economic security, and other means of survival. It examines emic cultural models of sexual consent and female sexual agency and proposes that sexual slavery, forced marriage, prostitution, transactional sex, nonmarital sex, informal marriage or cohabitation, and customary (bridewealth) marriages exist on a continuum on which female sexual agency becomes more and more constrained by material circumstance. Even when women's choices are limited, women still exercise their agency to survive. Conflating all forms of sex in conflict zones under the rubric of harm undermines women's and children's rights because it reinforces gendered hierarchies and diverts attention from the structural conditions of poverty in postconflict societies.

Topics: Gender, Women, Girls, Gender Analysis, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Livelihoods, Political Economies, Post-Conflict, Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence, SV against women Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2012

The New Sexual Violence Legislation in the Congo: Dressing Indelible Scars on Human Dignity


Zongwe, Dunia Prince. 2012. “The New Sexual Violence Legislation in the Congo: Dressing Indelible Scars on Human Dignity.” African Studies Review 55 (2): 37–57. doi:10.1353/arw.2012.0047.


Author: Dunia Prince Zongwe


This article describes a legal thread running from the commission of massive sexual violence in the eastern provinces of the Congo since 1996 to the enactment of liberal legislation in 2006 to combat sexual violence throughout the country, especially in eastern Congo. In doing so, the article fills a gap in the nascent legal literature on systematic sexual violence. It finds that the new rape law is progressive, liberal, gender-neutral, and in keeping with international law. However, an unfortunate lapse in legislative drafting puts in doubt the authority of the courts to use the new rape law to prosecute systematic sexual violence. Despite this weakness, as well as harsh realities such as resource limitations and institutionalized corruption, the new sexual violence law, "the law of shameful acts," nonetheless provides a framework on the basis of which the state and rape survivors can prosecute perpetrators. It is a necessary step in upholding accountability and preparing for the more daunting task of healing communities affected by a devastating regional war.

Topics: Extractive Industries, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2012

Re-Signifying ‘Sexual’ Colonial Power Techniques: The Experiences of Palestinian Women Political Prisoners


Lena Meari. 2015. “Re-Signifying ‘Sexual’ Colonial Power Techniques: The Experiences of Palestinian Women Political Prisoners.” In Rethinking Gender in Revolutions and Resistance: Lessons from the Arab World, edited by Maha El Said, Lena Meari and Nicola Pratt. London: Zed Books Ltd.

Author: Lena Meari

Topics: Gender, Women, Sexual Violence, SV against women Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 2015

Sex and International Tribunals: The Erasure of Gender from the War Narrative


Mibenge, Chiseche Salome. 2013. Sex and International Tribunals: The Erasure of Gender from the War Narrative. Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press. 

Author: Chiseche Salome Mibenge


Before the twenty-first century, there was little legal precedent for the prosecution of sexual violence as a war crime. Now, international tribunals have the potential to help make sense of political violence against both men and women; they have the power to uphold victims' claims and to convict the leaders and choreographers of systematic atrocity. However, by privileging certain accounts of violence over others, tribunals more often confirm outmoded gender norms, consigning women to permanent rape victim status.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, International Criminal Law, International Tribunals & Special Courts, TRCs, Post-Conflict, SV against women, Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Rwanda, Sierra Leone

Year: 2013


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