Racial Targeting of Sexual Violence in Darfur


Hagan, John, Wenona Rymond-Richmond, and Alberto Palloni. 2009. “Racial Targeting of Sexual Violence in Darfur.” American Journal of Public Health 99 (8): 1386–392.

Authors: John Hagan, Wenona Rymond-Richmond, Alberto Palloni


OBJECTIVES: We used the Atrocities Documentation Survey to determine whether Sudanese government forces were involved in racially targeting sexual victimization toward ethnically African women in the Darfur region of western Sudan.

METHODS: The US State Department conducted the survey by interviewing a randomized multistage probability sample of 1136 Darfur refugees at 20 sites in Chad in 2004. For a subset of 932 respondents who had fled from village clusters that accounted for 15 or more respondents per cluster, we used hierarchical linear models to analyze village-level patterns of reported sexual violence. We statistically controlled for individual sexual victimization to remove bias.

RESULTS: Respondents reported being subjected to racial epithets associated with sexual victimization significantly more often during combined attacks by Sudanese government forces and Janjaweed militia forces than during separate attacks by either force.

CONCLUSIONS: Combined attacks by Sudanese government forces and Janjaweed militia forces led to racial epithets being used more often during sexual victimization in Darfur. Our results suggest that the Sudanese government is participating in the use of sexual assault as a racially targeted weapon against ethnically African civilians.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Race, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Sudan

Year: 2009

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