Variation in wartime sexual violence: Rape during war is not inevitable
Variación de la violencia sexual en tiempos de guerra: la violación en la guerra no es inevitable;
Variação da violência sexual na época de guerra: o estupro na guerra não é inevitável
Sexual violence varies widely from one war to another, and sometimes from onearmed group to another within the same war. However, in some conflicts the sexual violence committed by certain armed groups is particularly limited, even though these groups engage in other types of violence against civilians. Some groups commit act sof sexual violence only against women, where as others also commit them against men. Social scientists have increasingly been documenting and analyzing these differentpatterns of sexual violence in times of war, particularly in terms of the different dimensions of violence (its form, frequency, targets and purposes), as well as in terms ofchanges in these four patterns over time. Firstly I introduce key concepts, including these four dimensions and the concept of sexual violence as a practice (a practice thatis not ordered but that is tolerated by the commanders, and which takes place bothin cases where it offers strategic benefits and where it does not). Afterwards I briefly summarize recent research that documents the patterns of violence during times ofwar. After showing that many of the approaches found in published literature do not explain the observed changes —in fact, many predict more sexual violence tan the tragic levels that were actually observed— I propose a theoretical framework that focuses on the internal dynamics of the armed groups. Then I analyze the conditionsunder which armed groups do not engage in rape, those where rape is performed in astrategic manner, and those where rape is performed as a practice. Throughout this chapter I rely on recent findings in social sciences literature, some of which have notyet been published. I conclude by discussing the implications of this analysis for publicpolicy: the changes found in sexual violence during times of war, and particularly the relative absence of this type of violence in many armed groups, implies that rape isnot inevitable in war.
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