Rape and the Failure of Peace: The Destabilizing Force of Sexual Violence in Civil War
38 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2011 Last revised: 8 Mar 2011
Date Written: April 22, 2011
Existing scholarship on post-conflict peace duration fails to account for the level of sexual violence within conflicts as a predictor of the risk of returning to war. This paper presents a new theory, linking the prevalence of rape to post-conflict instability, with the resumption of fighting as a hard test of social and political weakness. Through the merging of two data sets on peace duration and sexual violence within civil conflicts, I offer a unique quantitative, cross-national analysis of the relationship between sexual violence and peace stability. My findings support the theory, and indicate that high rates of sexual abuse in war are indeed correlated with shaky post-conflict peace. The results suggest a need for further analysis and the incorporation of violence against women into security studies.
Keywords: civil war, violence, gender, international relations
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