Sexual Violence and War: Mapping Out a Complex Relationship


Skjelsbæk, Inger. 2001. “Sexual Violence and War: Mapping Out a Complex Relationship.” European Journal of International Relations 7 (2): 211–37. doi:10.1177/1354066101007002003.

Author: Inger Skjelsbæk


In the 1990s there was more focus on war-time sexual violence than ever before. Within academia, among policy-makers and in the media emerged a consensus that sexual violence can be used as a weapon of war. This article attempts to understand the complex relationship between sexual violence and war by presenting three different conceptualizations based on a literature study of 140 scholarly texts published mainly during the 1990s. The crux of this article is the argument that the relationship between sexual violence and war is best conceptualized within a social constructionist paradigm. My analysis shows that it is the social constructionist conceptualization which is best equipped to explain the complex empirical reality at hand.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Sexual Violence

Year: 2001

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at