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SV against women

Female Soldiers in Sierra Leone: Sex, Security, and Post-Conflict Development


MacKenzie, Megan H. 2012. Female Soldiers in Sierra Leone: Sex, Security, and Post-Conflict Development. New York: New York University Press.

Author: Megan H. MacKenzie


The eleven-year civil war in Sierra Leone from 1991 to 2002 was incomprehensibly brutal—it is estimated that half of all female refugees were raped and many thousands were killed. While the publicity surrounding sexual violence helped to create a general picture of women and girls as victims of the conflict, there has been little effort to understand female soldiers’ involvement in, and experience of, the conflict. Female Soldiers in Sierra Leone draws on interviews with 75 former female soldiers and over 20 local experts, providing a rare perspective on both the civil war and post-conflict development efforts in the country. Megan MacKenzie argues that post-conflict reconstruction is a highly gendered process, demonstrating that a clear recognition and understanding of the roles and experiences of female soldiers are central to both understanding the conflict and to crafting effective policy for the future. (New York University Press)

Topics: Civil Wars, Female Combatants, Development, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rape, SV against women Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2012

Toward a Feminist Political Economy of Wartime Sexual Violence: The Case of the Democratic Republic of Congo


Meger, Sara. 2015. “Toward a Feminist Political Economy of Wartime Sexual Violence: The Case of the Democratic Republic of Congo.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 17 (3): 416–34. doi:10.1080/14616742.2014.941253.

Author: Sara Meger


Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) has been a prominent feature in the conflict in the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is a weapon of war, an instrument of terror and perpetrated opportunistically by armed men from all factions of the conflict. While most feminist analyses identify the link between gender and SGBV, they have tended to privilege individual or cultural accounts of gender construction. This article develops a feminist political economy analysis of SGBV in the ongoing conflict that looks at the relationship between gender as an international structure and the processes of the international political economy that precipitate this violence in Congo's ongoing war. This article theorizes an important and overlooked relationship between the structures of gender hierarchy and international political economy that may provide insights into the widespread use of SGBV in the conflict in eastern DRC, which this article contends constitutes part of the “global assembly line” of capitalist production.

Keywords: political economy, sexual violence, new wars, masculinity

Topics: Armed Conflict, "New Wars", Economies, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Political Economies, Sexual Violence, SV against women Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2015

Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War? Perceptions, Prescriptions, Problems in the Congo and Beyond


Baaz, Maria Eriksson, and Maria Stern. 2013. Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War? Perceptions, Prescriptions, Problems in the Congo and Beyond. London: Zed Books. 

Authors: Maria Eriksson Baaz, Maria Stern


All too often in conflict situations, rape is referred to as a 'weapon of war', a term presented as self-explanatory through its implied storyline of gender and warring. In this provocative but much-needed book, Eriksson Baaz and Stern challenge the dominant understandings of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict settings. Reading with and against feminist analyses of the interconnections between gender, warring, violence and militarization, the authors address many of the thorny issues inherent in the arrival of sexual violence on the global security agenda. Based on original fieldwork in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as research material from other conflict zones, Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War? challenges the recent prominence given to sexual violence, bravely highlighting various problems with isolating sexual violence from other violence in war. A much-anticipated book by two acknowledged experts in the field, on an issue that has become an increasingly important security, legal and gender topic. (Summary from Zed Books)
Table of Contents:
1. Sex/Gender Violence
2. 'Rape as a Weapon of War'?
3. The Messiness and Uncertainty of Warring
4. Post-Coloniality, Victimcy and Humanitarian Engagement: Being a Good Global Feminist?
5. Concluding Thoughts and Unanswered Questions 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Gender, Women, Men, Gender-Based Violence, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Non-state Armed Groups, Rape, SV against women, Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2013

Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: International Law, Local Responses


St. Germain, Tonia, and Susan Dewey, eds. 2012. Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: International Law, Local Responses. Sterling, Va: Kumarian Press.

Authors: Tonia St. Germain, Susan Dewey


The result of a collaboration between a feminist legal scholar and an anthropologist, Conflict-Related Sexual Violence presents completely original work by anthropologists, international human rights lawyers, legal theorists, political scientists, mental health professionals, and activists who report upon their respective research regarding responses to conflict-related sexual violence in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Haiti, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, and South Africa. Much more than a series of case studies, though, the bulk of the book addresses the implications of international responses to conflict-related sexual violence through analyses of the gaps between policy and practice with respect to efforts made by international organizations, criminal courts and tribunals to reduce or respond to conflict-related sexual violence. Scholarly, reflective, provocative yet practical and action-oriented, this book exemplifies a visionary blending of analysis, evidence, concepts and programs for ameliorating the lot of those whose lives are framed by war and conflict and the striving to find healing and justice.

(Kumarian Press)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, International Law, Justice, NGOs, Sexual Violence, SV against women Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa, Americas, Caribbean countries, South America, Asia, South Asia, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Afghanistan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Colombia, Haiti, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa

Year: 2012

Sex in Peace Operations


Simm, Gabrielle. 2015. Sex in Peace Operations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Author: Gabrielle Simm


Gabrielle Simm's critical re-evaluation of sex between international personnel and local people examines the zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and its international legal framework. Whereas most preceding studies of the issue have focused exclusively on military peacekeepers, Sex in Peace Operations also covers the private military contractors and humanitarian NGO workers who play increasingly important roles in peace operations. Informed by socio-legal studies, Simm uses three case studies (Bosnia, West Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo) to illustrate the extent of the problem and demonstrate that the problems of impunity for sexual crimes are not just a failure of political will but the result of the structural weaknesses of international law in addressing non-state actors. Combining the insights of feminist critique with a regulatory approach to international law, her conclusions will interest scholars of international law, peace and conflict studies, gender and sexuality, and development.
(Cambridge University Press)

Topics: International Law, International Human Rights, International Organizations, Justice, War Crimes, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Private Military & Security, NGOs, Peacekeeping, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, SV against women Regions: Africa, Central Africa, West Africa, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2015

Leaving Behind the Age of Impunity


Durbach, Andrea, and Louise Chappell. 2014. “Leaving Behind the Age of Impunity.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 16 (4): 543–62. doi:10.1080/14616742.2014.941251.

Authors: Andrea Durbach, Louise Chappell


As sexual violence in conflict – predominantly affecting women and girls – appears to increase in prevalence, gender justice advocates are calling for a reparations model that is not only restorative, but also, and more critically, preventative or transformative. This article asks whether the reparations mandate of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Trust Fund for Victims has the potential to address the pre-conflict structural inequalities that often contribute to the sexual violence and harm experienced during and post-conflict. Drawing on social theorist Nancy Fraser's model of trivalent justice and the ICC's first reparations decision in Lubanga, this article argues that the design of the ICC's court-ordered reparations mandate, and the unrealistic expectations it raises, may make it untenable to support the key transformative elements of recognition, representation and redistribution essential to addressing structural inequities contributing to conflict-related sexual violence. It suggests however, that modifying initiatives of the ICC's Trust Fund for Victims and a greater emphasis by the ICC on the notion of member state “reparative complementarity” may provide mechanisms for transforming conditions that trigger and perpetuate gender violence during conflict.

Keywords: conflict-related sexual violence against women, international criminal court, reparations, Nancy Fraser

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, International Law, International Organizations, Justice, Impunity, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Reparations, Sexual Violence, SV against women

Year: 2014

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. doi:10.1080/0966369X.2015.1013440.


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


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