SV against Women

Participation and Protection: Security Council Dyanmics, Bureaucratic Politics, and the Evolution of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda


Goetz, Anne Marie, and Rob Jenkins. 2018. "Participation and Protection: Security Council Dynamics, Bureaucratic Politics, and the Evolution of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda." In The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Conflict, edited by Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Naomi Cahn, Dina Francesca Haynes, and Nahla Valji, 119-131. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Authors: Anne Marie Goetz, Rob Jenkins


This chapter focuses on the political and institutional factors behind the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325. It illuminates two elements of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Agenda: participation and protection. It argues that despite the WPS Agenda’s efforts, women continue to remain underrepresented in peace negotiations and post-conflict political settlements. Further, by concentrating solely on protecting women from sexual violence, and neglecting an analysis of gender inequality and its contribution to conflict-propensity, the WPS Agenda perpetuates a protectionist narrative. This is due to opposition to the participation agenda from developing country member-states, a lack of accountability systems, and a lack of a powerful advocate within the UN bureaucratic system. The chapter concludes with suggestions for a recently formed working group under resolution 2242 to utilize, in order to better enable women’s participation in peace and security processes.

Keywords: Security Council Resolution 1325, protectionism, Security Council Resolution 2242, United Nation bureaucracy, women, Women Peace and Security agenda, gender

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Post-Conflict, Peace Processes, Sexual Violence, SV against Women, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325, UNSCR 2242

Year: 2018

Women Survivors of Sexual Violence and the Need to Repair. A Comparative Analysis of Timor-Leste and Haiti


Badulescu, C. L., and D. AM. Radu. 2019. "Women Survivors of Sexual Violence and the Need to Repair. A Comparative Analysis of Timor-Leste and Haiti." Paper presented at the 1st Congress of the Mukwege International Chair, Liege, November 13-15.

Authors: CL Badulescu, D AM Radu


The truth commissions which were authorized to operate in Timor-Leste and Haiti edited final reports whose recommendations included among others a set of reparations proposals for the victims of the human rights violations. We will analyze in what way reparations contributed to the rehabilitation of women survivors of conflict-related sexual violence. To this end, we will look at how both Timor-Leste and Haiti designed and implemented programs in accordance with the reparations proposals included in the truth commissions' reports.
The comparative analysis will look at the differences and similarities regarding the manner in which the two countries approached the issue of women survivors of sexual violence in the elaboration of the truth commissions' reports, in the proposed reparations and in their implementation. The societal resources invested by Timor-Leste and Haiti in supporting and promoting reparations programs will also be assessed.
The comparative method will rely upon the content analysis of truth commissions 'reports, of official and unofficial documents, of government officials' statements, and of several interviews conducted with representatives of NGOs that deal with the implementation of reparations programs in Timor-Leste and Haiti. We will emphasize the potential, but also the limits of reparations programs in addressing the issue of conflict-related sexual violence against women and to the extent to which they have been tailored to their needs.

Topics: Conflict, Gender, Women, Justice, Reparations, TRCs, NGOs, Rights, Human Rights, Sexual Violence, SV against Women Regions: Americas, Caribbean countries, Oceania Countries: Haiti, Timor-Leste

Year: 2019

Violence against Women in Armed Conflicts: Pre, During and Post


Sklavou, Konstantina. 2019. "Violence against Women in Armed Conflicts: Pre, During and Post." Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience and Mental Health 2 (4): 254-8. 

Author: Konstantina Sklavou


The article will briefly present the problem of violence against women in armed conflict. Violence during war varies in extent and takes distinct forms, sometimes is widespread and yet in other conflicts is quite limited. In conflicts violence takes different forms, sexual slavery, torture in detention, rape, humiliation, discriminations etc.  However sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflicts lacks visibility and is not fully understood as it is often labeled as a woman›s only issue and normalizing rape and sexual assault contains the risk of permitting sexual violence and legitimizing its use as a weapon of war.

Keywords: gender, violence, ethnicity, armed conflicts, human rights, immigrants, refugees

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Slavery, SV against Women, Torture, Violence

Year: 2019

Forced Pregnancy versus Forcible Impregnation: A Critical Analysis of Genocidal Rape during War/Armed Conflict.


Banwell, Stacy Louise. 2019. "Forced Pregnancy versus Forcible Impregnation: A Critical Analysis of Genocidal Rape during War/Armed Conflict." Paper presented at the 75th American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, San Francisco, November 13-16.

Author: Stacy Louise Banwell


Forced pregnancy and forcible impregnation are contested terms in relation to genocidal rape. The International Criminal Court (ICC), for example, defines forced pregnancy as ‘the unlawful confinement of a woman forcibly made pregnant, with the intent of affecting the ethnic composition of any population’ (Rome Statute of the ICC, 2011). Whereas, The Holy See suggests that the Statute need only criminalize the act of forcibly making a woman pregnant and not the subsequent act of forcibly keeping her pregnant. Thus, they suggest the term forcible impregnation rather than forced pregnancy (Grey, 2017). This paper unpacks the implications of the ICC’s definition of forced pregnancy in relation to the rape and sexual slavery of Yazidi women in Iraq and Syria. Evidence suggest that ISIS engaged in a genocidal campaign against the Yazidis. Many women and girls were forcibly impregnated, resulting in unwanted pregnancies (Genocide Network, 2017; Human Rights Council, 2016). However, forced impregnation (as defined by the ICC) cannot be applied to this case. Drawing on Grey’s (2017) notion of ‘reproductive violence’ - violence that violates reproductive autonomy - I review international criminal law and the reproductive justice available to women and girls raped and impregnated by ISIS.

Keywords: law, rape

Topics: Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Girls, Genocide, Health, Reproductive Health, International Law, International Criminal Law, Rights, Reproductive Rights, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Women Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Iraq, Syria

Year: 2019

Deploying Justice: Strategic Accountability for Wartime Sexual Violence


Loken, Meredith, Milli Lake, and Kate Cronin-Furman. 2018. "Deploying Justice: Strategic Accountability for Wartime Sexual Violence." International Studies Quarterly 62 (4): 751-64. 

Authors: Meredith Loken, Milli Lake, Kate Cronin-Furman


Why do governments and militaries publicly condemn and prosecute particular forms of abuse? This article explores the Sri Lankan government’s decision to promote limited legal accountability for state-perpetrated rape committed in a country otherwise renowned for widespread impunity. We argue that rather than representing a turn against impunity, the symbolic stance against conflict-related sexual violence in a small number of high-profile cases served an explicitly politico-military agenda. The state deployed legal accountability in specific cases to garner political legitimacy among key domestic audiences. The Sri Lankan government drew on the symbolism of female victimhood to mobilize support at a time when support for military counterinsurgency was waning. We show that governments can uniquely instrumentalize sexual violence cases to establish moral authority and territorial legitimacy. Through an examination of the domestic legal response to state-perpetrated human rights abuses, we illustrate the many ways in which women’s bodies—and the law—can be mobilized in war to serve military ends.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Governance, Justice, Impunity, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Rights, Human Rights, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Women Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2018

Sexual Abuse and Exploitation by UN Peacekeepers as Conflict-Related Gender Violence


Vojdik, Valorie K. 2019. "Sexual Abuse and Exploitation by UN Peacekeepers as Conflict-Related Gender Violence." In International Human Rights of Women, edited by Niamh Reilly, 405-21. Singapore: Springer Singapore.

Author: Valorie K. Vojdik


For nearly 30 years, military and civilian peacekeepers across the globe have engaged in rape, sexual assault, forced prostitution, trafficking, and sexual exploitation of women and children. The mechanisms for policing and punishing peacekeeper SEA have been inadequate, creating a culture of impunity. Rather than treat sexual exploitation and abuse as a crime committed by individual peacekeepers, as the UN has done, the international community must situate peacekeeper SEA within the gendered structures of power that help perpetuate conflict-related violence against women and girls. Peacekeeper SEA is rooted in unequal gender relations and poverty, exacerbated by the social and economic dislocations of war. Peacekeeping troops often engage in masculinized social practices that encourage sexual exploitation and gender violence against women and children. With the rise of new peacekeeping economies, peacekeepers often fuel the growth of prostitution and survival sex, harming the individual victims while reinforcing the inequality of women in post-conflict societies. To address peacekeeper SEA requires dismantling the structures of gender inequality and empowering women. It also requires transforming the institutional norms and practices that encourage and enforce masculinized violence by peacekeeping troops.

Keywords: sexual exploitation and abuse, peacekeeping, militarized masculinities, gender inequality, post-conflict

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Justice, Impunity, Peacekeeping, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, SV against Women, Trafficking

Year: 2019

Aftermath: Women and Women’s Organizations In Postconflict Societies: The Role of International Assistance


Kumar, Krishna. 2001. Aftermath: Women and Women’s Organizations In Postconflict Societies: The Role of International Assistance. USAID Program and Operations Assessment Report No. 28, U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington, DC.

Author: Krishna Kumar


Since the end of the Cold War, intrastate conflicts have increased worldwide. Poverty, the struggle for scarce resources, declining standards of living, ethnic rivalries and divisions, political repression by authoritarian governments, and rapid social and economic modernization—all these factors contribute to intrastate conflicts. All intrastate conflicts share a set of common characteristics that have major implications for women and gender relations. First, the belligerent parties deliberately inflict violence on civilian populations. Second, the intrastate conflicts displace substantial numbers of people, mostly women and children. Third, women’s participation in war contributes to the redefinition of their identities and traditional roles. Fourth, there is usually a conscious attempt to destroy the supporting civilian infrastructure, leading to increased poverty and starvation. Finally, these conflicts leave among the belligerent groups within the countries a legacy of bitterness, hatred, and anger that is difficult to heal.

Both men and women suffer from such conflicts. This study examines specifically the effects on women in six casestudy countries: Cambodia, Bosnia, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, and Rwanda. It looks as well at the rise of indigenous women’s organizations—their role, their impact, their future. Teams from USAID’s Center for Development Information and Evaluation visited those countries during 1999. They found the effects of war on women to fall into three broad categories: Social and psychological. Women often were traumatized by the conflict. After the hostilities, many feared for their physical safety. During the early phases of postconflict transition, unemployed militia continued to pose a serious threat to the lives and property of women and children. Fear of violence and sexual abuse (rape had actually been used as a tool of war, to subjugate, humiliate, terrorize) often kept women from moving about freely. Abject conditions in many postconflict societies contributed to the growth of prostitution.

Economic. A major problem was lack of property rights. Women were denied ownership of land their dead husbands or parents had owned. Rural women who owned no land or other assets worked as laborers or sharecroppers, at minimal wages. Urban women carved out livings mostly by selling foods and household items. During conflict, women could work in many occupations. As ex-combatants returned to civilian life, though, female workers were the first to lose their jobs.

Political. In the absence of men, all six countries witnessed an expansion of women’s public roles during the conflict. Women volunteered in churches, schools, hospitals, and private charities. They often took charge of political institutions, enhancing their political skills—and raising their expectations.

The conflicts created a ripe environment for the emergence or growth of women’s organizations. For one thing, the wars undermined the traditional social order; women found it easier to take part in public affairs. Moreover, governmental reforms after the wars created political space to launch women’s organizations. Another factor was disillusionment. During or in the immediate aftermath of the wars, women’s expectations of increased political participation had risen. Those expectations were never fully realized. Finally, the readiness of the international community to provide assistance to such organizations contributed to their growth.

In the case-study countries, women’s organizations have been active in virtually all sectors: social, educational, economic, political. They have established health clinics, provided reproductive health care, organized mass vaccination programs. They have carried out programs to generate income and employment for women, emphasizing microcredit and vocational training. They have grappled with domestic violence, prostitution, and the plight of returning refugees and internally displaced women. And they have promoted democracy and human rights, supported social reconciliation, and worked to increase women’s participation in political affairs.

International assistance has been important to the development of women’s organizations—and will be far into the foreseeable future. Beyond financial support, international bodies have helped indigenous women acquire managerial, accounting, and technical skills. International assistance has also helped legitimize women’s organizations, for example by sheltering them from government interference.

Attending the emergence of women’s organizations is an array of obstacles. They are social and cultural, imposed from without, and organizational, imposed from within. Chief among the former is women’s low social status. At the family, community, and national levels, women confront a lack of support for their public activities. Another outside encumbrance is the short-term nature of international assistance, which prevents long-term planning. Chief among internal obstacles is the reluctance of women leaders to delegate authority and to train junior staff for future leadership. There is, moreover, a lack of communication and sharing among organizations.

The six individual CDIE country evaluations yielded a number of recommendations aimed at making assistance to women’s organizations more effective. Among them: 
1. Build on women’s economic and political gains. Because the postconflict era provides an opening to build on the progress made by women during conflict, it makes sense for USAID to continue to capitalize on this opportunity. 
2. Pay greater attention to civilian security. USAID can assume a leadership role in publicizing the problem of civilian security and the need for concerted action to protect women. The Agency can also encourage other organizations to carry out programs that can enhance physical security for women.
3. Make concerted efforts with the rest of the international community to prevent sexual abuse of women. Measures might include protecting witnesses, training international peacekeepers in gender issues, and promoting more women to international judicial posts.
4. Promote microcredit. USAID should support microcredit programs but not ignore their limitations. They are not cures for all economic problems facing women in postconflict societies.
5. Support property rights for women. USAID should continue supporting property-rights reforms affecting women. This should include not only constitutional and legislative reforms but also their effective implementation.
6. Consider multiyear funding. The assurance of assistance for periods longer than 6–9 months will help build institutional capacity and boost staff morale.
7. Promote sustainability of women’s organizations. USAID could provide technical assistance, when necessary, to improve management; consider funding a portion of core costs, in addition to program costs, for a limited period; and help organizations become self-reliant by such means as improving skills in advocacy, fundraising, networking, and coalition.
8. Promote greater women’s participation in elections. USAID should consider steps to encourage political parties to field women candidates and assist women candidates on a nonpartisan basis.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Civil Society, Displacement & Migration, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Gender Roles, Women, Governance, Elections, Health, Trauma, International Organizations, Livelihoods, Political Participation, Rights, Land Rights, Security, Sexual Violence, SV against Women, Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Americas, Central America, Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe, South Caucasus Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cambodia, El Salvador, Georgia, Guatemala, Rwanda

Year: 2001

Enforcement of Sexual Violence Law in Post-Civil Conflict Societies


Haglund, Jillienne, and David L. Richards. 2017. "Enforcement of Sexual Violence Law in Post-Civil Conflict Societies." Conflict Management and Peace Science 35 (3): 280-95.

Authors: Jillienne Haglund, David L. Richards


The climate of impunity in many post-civil conflict societies results in unprecedented levels of violence against women, making legal implementation and law enforcement particularly difficult. We argue that the presence of strong legal provisions mediates the negative influence of the post-civil conflict environment on violence against women. Specifically, we examine the role of strong legal protections on the enforcement of sexual violence legislation in post-civil conflict countries. To examine our hypothesis, we utilize an original dataset measuring the strength and enforcement of domestic legal statutes addressing violence against women for the years 2007–2010 in post-civil conflict countries. We find elements of civil conflict as well as domestic and international legal regimes to be reliably associated with the enforcement of violence against women laws and rape prevalence in post-civil conflict states.

Keywords: gender, gender-based violence, political institutions, post-civil conflict, violence against women

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Women, Violence

Year: 2017

Responding to Sexual Violence: Women’s Mobilization in War


Kreft, Anne-Kathrin. 2018. "Responding to Sexual Violence: Women’s Mobilization in War." Journal of Peace Research 56 (2): 220-33.

Author: Anne-Kathrin Kreft


Gender scholars show that women in situations of civil war have an impressive record of agency in the social and political spheres. Civilian women’s political mobilization during conflict includes active involvement in civil society organizations, such as nongovernmental organizations or social movements, and public articulation of grievances – in political protest, for example. Existing explanations of women’s political mobilization during conflict emphasize the role of demographic imbalances opening up spaces for women. This article proposes a complementary driving factor: women mobilize politically in response to the collective threat that conflict-related sexual violence constitutes to women as a group. Coming to understand sexual violence as a violent manifestation of a patriarchal culture and gender inequalities, women mobilize in response to this violence and around a broader range of women’s issues with the goal of transforming sociopolitical conditions. A case study of Colombia drawing on qualitative interviews illustrates the causal mechanism of collective threat framing in women’s collective mobilization around conflictrelated sexual violence. Cross-national statistical analyses lend support to the macro-level implications of the theoretical framework and reveal a positive association between high prevalence of conflict-related rape on the one hand and women’s protest activity and linkages to international women’s nongovernmental organizations on the other.

Keywords: civil war, gender, political mobilization, sexual violence

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Conflict, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, NGOs, Political Participation, Sexual Violence, SV against Women Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2018

Cango Lyec (Healing the Elephant): Gender Differences in HIV Infection in Post-conflict Northern Uganda


Spittal, Patricia M., Samuel S. Malamba, Martin D. Ogwang, Seggane Musisi, J. Paul Ekwaru, Nelson K. Sewankambo, Margo E. Pearce, Kate Jongbloed, Sheetal H. Patel, Achilles Katamba, Alden H. Blair, Herbert Muyinda, and Martin T. Schechter. 2018. "Cango Lyec (Healing the Elephant): Gender Differences in HIV Infection in Post-conflict Northern Uganda." Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 78 (3): 257-68. 

Authors: Patricia M. Spittal, Samuel S. Malamba, Martin D. Ogwang, Seggane Musisi, J. Paul Ekwaru, Nelson K. Sewankambo, Margo E. Pearce, Kate Jongbloed, Sheetal H. Patel, Achilles Katamba, Alden H. Blair, Herbert Muyinda, Martin T. Schechter


Background: As previously encamped resettle, potential for rapid HIV transmission in post-conflict Northern Uganda is concerning. Women in particular may be experiencing heightened vulnerability resulting from war-related sexual violence.
Setting: Cango Lyec (Healing the Elephant) Project is a cohort involving conflict-affected people in 3 districts in Northern Uganda.
Methods: Eight randomly selected communities were mapped, and a census was conducted. Participants aged 13–49 years completed questionnaires in Luo on war-related experiences, mental health, sexual vulnerabilities, and sociodemographics. Blood samples were tested for HIV and syphilis. Baseline data from all sexually active participants was used to determine gender differences in HIV prevalence. Multivariate modeling determined correlates of HIV by gender.
Results: Among 2008 participants, HIV prevalence was higher among women [17.2; 95% confidence interval (CI): 14.7 to 19.7] compared to men (10.6; 95% CI: 8.0 to 13.2, ,0.001). Among women, correlates of HIV included: war-related sexual assault [adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 1.95; 95% CI: 1.16 to 3.26]; probable depression (AOR: 2.22; 95% CI: 1.46 to 3.37); probable post-traumatic stress disorder (AOR: 2.03; 95% CI: 1.45 to 2.84); experiencing $12 traumatic events (AOR: 2.04; 95% CI: 1.31 to 3.18); suicide ideation (AOR: 1.67; 95% CI: 1.22 to 2.28); living in a female-headed household (AOR: 2.76; 95% CI: 1.70 to 4.49); first sexual partner $10 years older (AOR: 1.69; 95% CI: 1.07 to 2.67); sex for exchange (AOR: 5.51; 95% CI: 1.76 to 17.31); having 2 (AOR: 2.54; 95% CI: 1.23 to 5.23) or 3+ (AOR: 4.65; 95% CI: 2.65 to 8.18) sexual partners; inconsistent condom use (AOR: 0.40; 95% CI: 0.29 to 0.57); genital ulcers (AOR: 3.08; 95% CI: 2.16 to 4.38); active syphilis (AOR: 4.33; 95% CI: 1.22 to 15.40); and ill health without medical care (AOR: 2.02; 95% CI: 1.22 to 3.34). Among men, correlates of HIV included no condom at sexual debut (AOR: 1.92; 95% CI: 1.30 to 2.83) and genital ulcers (AOR: 4.40; 95% CI: 1.35 to 14.40).
Conclusion: Women are disproportionately impacted by HIV, trauma, and depression in this conflict-affected population. Trauma-informed HIV prevention and culturally safe mental health initiatives are urgently required.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, conflict-affected people, Northern Uganda, gender, sexual violence, mental health

Topics: Armed Conflict, Conflict, Gender, Women, Health, HIV/AIDS, Mental Health, Trauma, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, SV against Women Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2018


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