Sexual Violence against Child Soldiers


Grey, Rosemary. 2014. “Sexual Violence against Child Soldiers.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 16 (4): 601–21. doi:10.1080/14616742.2014.955964.

Author: Rosemary Grey


In addition to participating in hostilities, girl soldiers are often raped, sexually enslaved and used as “bush wives” by their commanders and fellow soldiers. As this issue of sexual violence against girl soldiers has become increasingly visible in recent cases before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), attempts have been made to prosecute this conduct within the established framework of international criminal law. Most recently, this issue has been addressed in the case of The Prosecutor v Bosco Ntaganda, one of the six cases that have come before the ICC from the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On 9 June 2014, the Pre-Trial Chamber confirmed the charges in the Ntaganda case, and found that the rape and sexual slavery of girl soldiers in Ntaganda's armed group by other members of that group could constitute war crimes under Article 8(2)(e)(vi) of the Rome Statute. This article considers what the Ntaganda decision adds to the jurisprudence on sexual violence against child soldiers, and what it demonstrates about the limits of the law.

Keywords: sexual violence, child soldiers, war crimes, international criminal court, Ntaganda case

Topics: Child Soldiers, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, International Criminal Law, International Organizations, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, War Crimes, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Rape, SV against Men Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2014

Ending gender-based violence through grassroots women's empowerment: Lessons from post-1994 Rwanda


Cherry, Janet, and Celestin Hategekimana. 2013. “Ending Gender-Based Violence Through Grassroots Women’s Empowerment: Lessons From Post
1994 Rwanda.” Agenda: Empowering Women For Gender Equity 27 (1): 100–113. doi:10.1080/10130950.2013.793895.


Authors: Janet Cherry, Celestin Hategekimana


Recent research in Rwanda has revealed positive findings regarding the combating of gender-based violence. Rwanda is notorious for the 1994 genocide which involved not only extreme violence in the killing of over 800 000 people, but in the systematic use of rape as a weapon of war. A recent study of women's involvement in cooperatives in the former Mayaga1 region comes to the tentative conclusion that there is a correlation between women attaining a measure of economic independence, and a drop in gender-based violence. Close analysis of the context of this success suggests that it is based in two complementary strategies: a ‘bottom-up’ process of women's empowerment at local level, and a concerted programme of security sector reform – involving men as well as women – focussing on reducing gender-based violence. Linking the two is a range of institutions and organisations which provide for grassroots involvement of women in monitoring, policing and conflict management as well as economic empowerment.
Given the horrifying levels of gender-based violence in certain African countries, in particular South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), it is worthwhile to analyse the significance of the case study of the former Mayaga region of Rwanda. The Article concludes that there are lessons that can be generalised to South Africa and other countries, both from the relatively successful cooperative strategies adopted in Rwanda and from the strategies for addressing gender-based violence.

Keywords: gender based violence, cooperatives, women's empowerment, Rwanda

Topics: Armed Conflict, Economies, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Gender Mainstreaming, Genocide, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Rape Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2013

The Fetishization of Sexual Violence in International Security


Meger, Sara. 2016. “The Fetishization of Sexual Violence in International Security.” International Studies Quarterly 60 (1): 149–59. 

Author: Sara Meger


Recent international relations scholarship tends to view sexual violence, especially rape, as an exceptional—if not aberrant—phenomenon in war and armed conflict. Indeed, it often treats it as the sole form of gender-based violence capable of threatening international peace and security. I challenge the isolation of this particular form of gender violence in the study and governance of international security. I argue that the securitization of sexual violence produced its “fetishization” in international advocacy, policy, and scholarship. The stages of securitization operate as a process of fetishization by first, decontextualizing and homogenizing this violence; second, objectifying this violence; and third, affecting inter-unit relations through the “selling back” of sexual violence to actors involved in conflict. As such, my argument helps specify why securitization fails to adequately address an issue like sexual violence and often results in further retrenchment of disparate power relations.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Sexual Violence, Rape, Violence

Year: 2016

Sexual Torture of Palestinian Men by Israeli Authorities


Weishut, Daniel J. N. 2015. “Sexual Torture of Palestinian Men by Israeli Authorities.” Reproductive Health Matters 23 (46): 71–84. doi:10.1016/j.rhm.2015.11.019.

Author: Daniel J. N. Weishut


In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, arrests and imprisonment of Palestinian men in their early adulthood are common practice. The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) collected thousands of testimonies of Palestinian men allegedly tortured or ill-treated by Israeli authorities. There are many types of torture, sexual torture being one of them. This study is based on the PCATI database during 2005-2012, which contains 60 cases – 4% of all files in this period – with testimonies of alleged sexual torture or ill-treatment. It is a first in the investigation of torture and ill-treatment of a sexual nature, allegedly carried out by Israeli security authorities on Palestinian men. Findings show that sexual ill-treatment is systemic, with 36 reports of verbal sexual harassment, either directed toward Palestinian men and boys or toward family members, and 35 reports of forced nudity. Moreover, there are six testimonies of Israeli officials involved in physical sexual assault of arrested or imprisoned Palestinian men. Physical assault in most cases concerned pressing and/or kicking the genitals, while one testimony pertained to simulated rape, and another described an actual rape by means of a blunt object. The article provides illustrations of the various types of sexual torture and ill-treatment of boys and men in the light of existing literature, and recommendations. 

Keywords: sexual violence, torture, human rights, Israel, Palestinian

Topics: Gender, Men, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, SV against Men, Torture, Sexual Torture Regions: Africa, MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel, Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 2015

The Global, the Ethnic and the Gendered War: Women and Rape in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo


Trenholm, Jill, Pia Olsson, Martha Blomqvist, and Beth Maina Ahlberg. 2016. “The Global, the Ethnic and the Gendered War: Women and Rape in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.” Gender, Place & Culture 23 (4): 484–502.


Authors: Jill Trenholm, Pia Olsson, Martha Blomqvist, Beth Maina Ahlberg


The purpose of this study was to illuminate the perspectives of women who experienced sexual violence perpetrated in the warscapes of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Civilians are targeted for rape, loot and pillage yielding deleterious effects on the social fabric and the sustenance the community provides. The article is based on 11 qualitative semistructured interviews and 4 written narratives from women of reproductive age, recruited from organizations providing support post-sexual violation. The study departs from a larger ethnographic project investigating the phenomenon of war-rape. Thematic analysis guided the analysis through the theoretical lenses of structural violence and intersectionality. The women expressed total insecurity and a multitude of losses from bodily integrity, health, loss of family, life course possibilities, livelihoods and a sense of place; a profound dispossession of identity and marginalization. Pregnancies resulting from rape reinforced stigma and burdened the survivor with raising a stigmatized child on the margins of society. Perpetrators of rape were mostly identified as Interhamwe (Rwandan Hutus rebels) who entered Congo after the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Their goal, according to the women, was to spread HIV and impregnate Congolese women, thereby destroying families, communities and society. The women survivors of war-rape described experiences of profound loss in this conflict which has global, ethnic and gendered dimensions. Congo's conflict thus requires critical reflection on how local wars and subsequent human suffering are situated in a matrix of globalization processes, enabled by transnational actors and embedded in structural violence.

Keywords: sexual violence, gender, war, Democratic Republic of Congo, structural violence, globalization process

Topics: Armed Conflict, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Women Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2016

Human Security and Gender Violence


Coomaraswamy, Radhika. 2005. “Human Security and Gender Violence.” Economic and Political Weekly 40 (44-45): 4729–36.


Author: Radhika Coomaraswamy


All countries comprising the south Asian region have responded in some measure to the challenges posed by violence against women in the region. However, what remains a matter of concern is the fact that apart from India, none of the other south Asian countries have adopted domestic violence legislation or made the necessary changes to anti-trafficking legislation. Progress to ensure security and a world without violence for women has been slow but its pace especially in the last decade has been heartening. Violence against women, as borne out by research from around the world, can be effectively combated if a healthy partnership prevails between women's groups and the state apparatus.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Society, Domestic Violence, Gender, Women, Girls, Masculinity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Slavery, SV against Women, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Asia, South Asia

Year: 2005

"Sexual Violence and Women’s Health in War"


Cohn, Carol, ed. 2012. "Sexual Violence and Women’s Health in War." Chap. 3 in Women and Wars. Malden, MA: Polity Press. 

Author: Pamela DeLargy


In chapter 3, “Sexual Violence and Women’s Health in War,” Pamela DeLargy discusses the incidence of rape in wartime, and other forms of sexual violence and exploitation. She addresses both the explanations for and consequences of sexual violence, looking at its short- and long-term implications not only for the women themselves, but also for their communities. As wartime sexual violence has lately been receiving increased global attention, DeLargy also looks at the development of response and prevention policies within the international health, human rights, and security communities, and at some of the unforeseen challenges and unintended consequences of their actions. The chapter then reviews some other important health risks for women in war, focusing particularly on reproductive health.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Health, Reproductive Health, International Law, International Human Rights, Rights, Human Rights, Security, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

Year: 2012


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