SV against Men

The Rape of Slave Boys in Sudan


Sliwa, Maria. 2004. “The Rape of Slave Boys in Sudan.” Contemporary Review 284 (1661): 343–45.

Author: Maria Sliwa



“Although many villagers are aware that young male slaves are raped while in captivity, it is not discussed because of the cultural prohibitions on all forms of homosexuality including rape.” (344)

"In southern Sudan, if two men are found to have consensually engaged in homosexual sex, they are killed by a firing squad." (343)

“Male rape victims, who are able to escape slavery in the North and return to their villages, often consign themselves to a life filled with guild and suffering and do this silently and alone.” (345)

“I interviewed a total of fifteen male slaves, for one to two hours each. Six of the boys interviewed said they were raped and the majority of these six said they were eyewitness to other boys being raped. Most of these six boys said they were raped numerous times, by more than one perpetrator.” (345)

“Though five in this group of fifteen boys said they were not raped, they did say they were either sexually harassed or were eyewitness to other slave boys being raped.” (345)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Boys, International Law, Justice, Crimes against Humanity, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Slavery, SV against Men Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Sudan

Year: 2004

The Body of War: Media, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Break-Up of Yugoslavia


Žarkov, Dubravka. 2007. The Body of War: Media, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Break-Up of Yugoslavia. Durham: Duke University Press.

Author: Dubravka Žarkov


In The Body of War, Dubravka Žarkov analyzes representations of female and male bodies in the Croatian and Serbian press in the late 1980s and in the early 1990s, during the war in which Yugoslavia disintegrated. Žarkov proposes that the Balkan war was not a war between ethnic groups; rather, ethnicity was produced by the war itself. Žarkov explores the process through which ethnicity was generated, showing how lived and symbolic female and male bodies became central to it. She does not posit a direct causal relationship between hate speech published in the press during the mid-1980s and the acts of violence in the war. Instead, she argues that both the representational practices of the “media war” and the violent practices of the “ethnic war” depended on specific, shared notions of femininity and masculinity, norms of (hetero)sexuality, and definitions of ethnicity.

Tracing the links between the war and press representations of ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, Žarkov examines the media’s coverage of two major protests by women who explicitly identified themselves as mothers, of sexual violence against women and men during the war, and of women as militants. She draws on contemporary feminist analyses of violence to scrutinize international and local feminist writings on the war in former Yugoslavia. Demonstrating that some of the same essentialist ideas of gender and sexuality used to produce and reinforce the significance of ethnic differences during the war often have been invoked by feminists, she points out the political and theoretical drawbacks to grounding feminist strategies against violence in ideas of female victimhood. (Amazon)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Media, Sexuality, Sexual Violence, SV against Men, SV against Women, Violence Regions: Europe, Balkans Countries: Croatia, Serbia, Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2007

Why Do Some Men Use Violence against Women and How Can We Prevent It? - Quantitative Findings from the United Nations Multi-Country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific


Fulu, Emma, X. Warner, S. Miedema, R. Jewkes, T. Roselli and J. Lang. 2013. Why Do Some Men Use Violence against Women and How Can We Prevent It? - Quantitative Findings from the United Nations Multi-Country Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific. Bangkok: UN Partners for Prevention.

Authors: Emma Fulu, X. Warner, S. Miedema, R. Jewkes, T. Roselli, J. Lang

Topics: Domestic Violence, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Men Regions: Asia, Oceania

Year: 2013

Sexual Violence Beyond Reasonable Doubt: Using Pattern Evidence and Analysis for International Cases


Aranburu, Xabier Agirre. 2010. "Sexual Violence Beyond Reasonable Doubt: Using Pattern Evidence and Analysis for International Cases." Law Social Inquiry 35 (4): 855-79.

Author: Xabier Agirre Aranburu


Establishing the pattern of crime is fundamental for the successful investigation of international crimes (genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity). A pattern of crime is the aggregate of multiple incidents that share common features related to the victims, the perpetrators, and the modus operandi. Pattern evidence and analysis have been used successfully, mainly in the investigation of large-scale killings, destruction, and displacement; the use for sexual violence charges has been remarkably more limited. There is a need to overcome this gap by setting proper methods of data collection and analysis. At the level of evidence collection, under-reporting should be addressed through victimization surveys or secondary analysis of data available from different sources. At the level of analysis, the available evidence needs to be subject to impartial examination beyond the pre-conceptions of the conflict parties and advocacy groups, in compliance with scientific standards for quantitative, qualitative, and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) methods. Reviewing the different investigative experiences and jurisprudence will help to set the right methodology and contribute most efficiently to putting an end to the impunity regarding sexual crimes.

Keywords: sexual violence, criminal investigations, law



"The investigation of international crimes often requires means of evidence and analysis able to show the series of incidents as a whole and to determine whether they have enough in common to be considered a relevant pattern of crime. Such pattern evidence and analysis, from expert testimony to statistics and crime mapping, have been used successfully mainly for killings and mass destruction and displacement, but their use for sexual violence charges has been remarkably more limited. As Susana SaCouto and Katherine Cleary (2009) have observed, 'Unfortunately, while the ad hoc tribunals have used circumstantial or pattern evidence to establish that an accused ordered certain crimes, a review of sexual violence and gender-based cases before these tribunals indicates that they appear more reluctant to do so in these types of cases' (353)." (2)

 "The record of the ICTR has been assessed as 'shameful' because 'crimes of sexual violence have never been fully and consistently incorporated into the investigations and strategy of the Prosecutor's Office' (Nowrojee 2007, 370). n4 Concerning both the ICTR and ICTY, according to expert assessment, there has been a 'tendency to require that the prosecution meet a higher evidentiary standard in cases of sexual violence and gender based crimes' (SaCouto and Cleary 2009, 356). As an experienced practitioner, I have seen professionals refuse to deal with allegations of sexual violence, neglect the relevant evidence, or set higher standards for evidence on a number of occasions." (3)

"The reluctance to investigate sexual violence appears to result from two main factors: lack of awareness and sensitivity among teams usually led by senior male officers and a certain taboo or embarrassment when dealing with intimate aspects of our bodies and minds. Researchers from the field of cognitive psychology and the psychology of law could probably assist in analyzing such prejudices and suggest corrective measures (the most obvious being evaluation at the recruitment stage, training, clear policies and standards, appointment of designated specialized staff, and gender balance in teams)." (3)

"There are at least four notions in the advocacy literature that criminal investigations need to considercritically: sexual violence is not prevalent in every conflict, it is not necessarily a strategic choice as a 'weapon of war,' underreporting is not an axiomatic universal fact, and women are not the only victims." (4)

"The problem of underreporting seems to be particularly acute among male victims since, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (2008), 'there is an extremely limited awareness of, and knowledge about, sexual violence against men and boys in conflict among the humanitarian and sexual violence research community' (2). In spite of all the available information, male victims are entirely ignored in the key resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in relation to sexual violence in armed conflicts (Resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888, and 1889, adopted between 2000 and 2009)." (6)

"Factual typologies, while necessarily situation specific, may be assisted by consideration of the following very frequent types:   1. Opportunistic: As discussed above, a type of sexual looting decided by the direct perpetrator, who aims primarily at his own sexual satisfaction while taking the opportunity offered by the defenselessness of the victim and possibly other factors.  2. Strategic: when used as a means to terrorize, expel, or subjugate the victim, and possibly her or his community. This may become apparent with conducts that may not give sexual satisfaction to the perpetrator (e.g., [*870] sterilization, mutilation, or penetration with objects) or when the aggression is publicized with an intent to offend the wider population.  3. Captivity: Scenarios of sexual violence in conditions of captivity combine opportunistic and strategic aspects, since the aggression may be decided by the direct perpetrator for his own satisfaction, while the opportunity to abuse is systemically constructed by those who established the captivity regime. This type of crime may include scenarios of abduction, sexual slavery, abuse within detention facilities, forced 'marriage,' or sexual abuse of child soldiers." (9-10)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Men, Justice, Crimes against Humanity, Impunity, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325, UNSCR 1820, UNSCR 1888, UNSCR 1889, Sexual Violence, SV against Men, SV against Women

Year: 2010

Women War Survivors of Sexual Violence in Liberia: Inequalities in Health, Resilience and Justice


Liebling-Kalifani, Helen and Bruce Baker. 2010. "Women War Survivors of Sexual Violence in Liberia: Inequalities in Health, Resilience and Justice." Journal of International Social Research 3 (13): 188-199.

Authors: Helen Liebling-Kalifani, Bruce Baker


This article argues that the human consequences of conflict sexual violence have often been misunderstood. Typically research has conceptualised these effects in terms of an individual manifestation of psychological trauma and physical injuries. The corresponding post-conflict responses have therefore been confined to a medical one. This paper, based on research with women war survivors in Liberia, argues for an alternative understanding and response. First, it views conflict sexual violence and torture as gendered, that is, although both men and women endure these experiences, their responses are different. Second, it believes that beyond the individual's trauma the impact of conflict sexual violence and torture affects whole communities and identity. Third, it recognises a strong desire for justice among survivors whose fulfillment is vital to their recovery. Fourth, it recognises high levels of resilience among women survivors. In the light of these perspectives, the article argues that for post-conflict responses to be effective they must go beyond a purely individualistic and medical conceptualisation of needs. Rather they have to be gendered, culturally sensitive, address justice as well as health needs and build upon the resilience of women war survivors and their communities.

Keywords: sexual violence, health



"Though Liberia was the first country to launch a plan for the implementation of UN Resolution 1325 (Republic of Liberia, 2008) and though the legal definition of rape was expanded and the age of consent was raised to 18 years, perpetrators are still hardly ever convicted. Part of the problem is the failure to report incidents or to look for medical or professional assistance due to shame, fear of rejection and lack of confidence that the ‘system’ will protect the rights of women (IRIN, 2009; MSF, 2007; UNIFEM 2004; and for northern Uganda see Liebling-Kalifani, in press). Whilst recognizing that both sexes are exposed to violence during armed conflict, women and girls are subjected to sexualized and gender-based violence that targets their sexuality and status." (Liebling-Kalifani et al., 189)


"The war also had a serious detrimental effect on the very services that the war survivors needed namely judicial and medical. Although there are a few examples of health initiatives, the capacity of the Liberian government to respond to women survivors of sexual violence is thus extremely limited. There is little to address their physical and psychological health needs; and their need for justice against the perpetrators of the violence." (Liebling-Kalifani et al.,190)

 "This paper, drawing on findings of recent research carried out with women war survivors in Liberia, argues that for post-conflict responses to be effective they must go beyond a purely individualistic and medical conceptualisation of needs. Rather they have to be gendered, culturally sensitive, address justice as well as social and health needs and build upon the resilience of women and their communities." (Liebling-Kalifani et al., 190)


"A culture of partial justice and impunity for the powerful had long marked by the pre-war system and in fact had been one of the primary catalysts for the civil war. According to one survey (Liberian CJS Report, 2002) 56% of those who had been arrested and forwarded to court believe that the court had not been fair to them, citing reasons such as partiality of judges (41%), interference by government officials (24%), no opportunity for legal representation (18%) and jury manipulation (6%). Thus 59% of these respondents were not satisfied with the outcome of the cases. Overall, 61% of respondents said they had little or no confidence in the courts to render justice." (Liebling-Kalifani et al., 192)

 "Significant changes were made to legislation, which expanded the definition of rape so that now any form of sexual penetration is considered rape under Liberian law. The age of consent has also been raised to 18 years. The new laws have also established harsher punishment for perpetrators and abolished bail for rape cases. Despite these steps, the judicial system has yet to adapt these changes so the new laws have made little difference. Perpetrators are still hardly ever convicted. Rape still tends to be dealt with privately. Most victims never press charges. According to the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia, there is a conspiracy of silence and denial within the community and within the families involved. The judicial system is an ongoing source of frustration." (Liebling-Kalifani et al., 192)


"Analysis of the research data from Liberia suggests that the effects of conflict sexual violence and torture should be regarded as gendered, that is, although both men and women endure these experiences, their responses are different. Women war survivors reconstruct their identities by taking on male roles, becoming heads of households, peace building as well as engaging in collective and political activities. Women’s ability to voice their experiences, form groups as a political act of resistance, results in a shared identity and a decrease in trauma experienced. In contrast, men largely turn their trauma inwards, using strategies such as alcohol and drug use in an attempt to ‘manage’ their distress (Isis-WICCE, 2008). Further, it is suggested that women’s war trauma is differently constituted than men’s due to the effects of sexual violence and torture being understood as a ‘destruction of cultural identity’ and of the ethnic group. Hence, the effects of these experiences on women are equally valid, and therefore deserving of compensation and facilities for recovery, as has been awarded to male soldiers (Liebling-Kalifani, in press)." (Liebling-Kalifani et al., 194)


"It is emphasised however, that although destruction of cultural identity and entitlement to power was in many ways ‘successful’ from the point of view of the military groups, in the sense that it did erode Liberian women and girl’s sense of self, cultural identity and entitlement to power, this was never an uncontested process. Liberian women and girls, who were the objects of attack, also resisted the breakdown of their cultural identity, not only physically and militarily, for example as combatants, but also socially, psychologically and culturally. As Andermahr et al. (1997: 287) suggest, ‘theoretically informed accounts by women who have experienced rape and struggled to retain their sense of autonomy are needed.'" (Liebling-Kalifani et al., 195)

Topics: Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, Trauma, Sexual Violence, SV against Men, Torture Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2010

Sexual Torture of Men in Croatia and Other Conflict Situations: An Open Secret


Oosterhoff, Pauline, Prisca Zwanikken, and Evert Ketting. 2004. "Sexual Torture of Men in Croatia and Other Conflict Situations: An Open Secret." Reproductive Health Matters 12 (23): 68-77.

Authors: Pauline Oosterhoff, Prisca Zwanikken, Evert Ketting


Sexual torture constitutes any act of sexual violence which qualifies as torture. Public awareness of the widespread use of sexual torture as a weapon of war greatly increased after the war in the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. Sexual torture has serious mental, physical and sexual health consequences. Attention to date has focused more on the sexual torture of women than of men, partly due to gender stereotypes. This paper describes the circumstances in which sexual torture occurs, its causes and consequences, and the development of international law addressing it. It presents data from a study in 2000 in Croatia, where the number of men who were sexually tortured appears to have been substantial. Based on in-depth interviews with 16 health professionals and data from the medical records of three centres providing care to refugees and victims of torture, the study found evidence of rape and other forced sexual acts, full or partial castration, genital beatings and electroshock. Few men admit being sexually tortured or seek help, and professionals may fail to recognise cases. Few perpetrators have been prosecuted, mainly due to lack of political will. The silence that envelopes sexual torture of men in the aftermath of the war in Croatia stands in strange contrast to the public nature of the crimes themselves.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Men, Health, Mental Health, Reproductive Health, International Law, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Sexual Violence, SV against Men, Torture, Sexual Torture Regions: Europe, Balkans Countries: Croatia

Year: 2004

Abu Ghraib: Arguing Against Exceptionalism


Puar, Jasbir K. 2004. "Abu Ghraib: Arguing Against Exceptionalism." Feminist Studies 30 (2): 522-34.

Author: Jasbir K. Puar

Topics: Gender, Men, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, SV against Men, Sexual Torture Regions: Africa, MENA, Americas, North America, Asia, Middle East Countries: Iraq, United States of America

Year: 2004

Male Rape and Human Rights


Stemple, Lara. 2008. "Male Rape and Human Rights." Hastings Law Journal 60: 605-47.

Author: Lara Stemple

Keywords: conflict, military sexual assault, war rape, human rights

Topics: Gender, Men, Rights, Human Rights, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Men

Year: 2008


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