Rethinking Rape: The Role of Women in Wartime Violence

Citation:

Loken, Meredith. 2017. “Rethinking Rape: The Role of Women in Wartime Violence.” Security Studies 26 (1): 60–92.

Author: Meredith Loken

Abstract:

There is widespread variation in scope, scale, and forms of rape across and within conflicts. One explanation focuses on the integration of women in armed groups. Scholars and international organizations posit that the inclusion of women in armed groups discourages wartime rape. They advocate women’s increased participation to combat rape and other forms of civilian violence. Using an original dataset of women’s involvement as combatants in civil wars from 1980 to 2009, I argue that the participation of female fighters has no significant impact in constraining an armed group’s propensity to rape. Female combatants do not lessen rape because organizational factors, primarily culture, drive violence in armed factions and encourage conformity irrespective of individual characteristics. Advocating further militarization of women in an attempt to reduce conflict-related rape may be an ineffective policy prescription.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender-Based Violence, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Sexual Violence, Rape, Violence

Year: 2017

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