The Political Consequences of Wartime Sexual Violence: Evidence from a List Experiment

60 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2020

See all articles by Belén González

Belén González

Leuphana University of Lueneburg; GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies

Richard Traunmüller

University of Mannheim - School of Social Sciences

Date Written: January 30, 2020

Abstract

We present the first systematic study into the political effects of wartime sexual violence. Connecting unobtrusive measures from a list experiment to individual survivors’ political action, we show that personal experience of sexual violence increases political participation. This effect is substantial in size, holds for institutionalized and non-institutionalized forms of political action, and is robust to unobserved confounding or sample selection bias. To understand why sexual victimization leads to political activism, we derive mechanisms from work on the legacies of violent conflict. Causal mediation analyses suggest that social preferences or ‘post-traumatic growth’ are insufficient explanations for the mobilizing effect of wartime sexual violence. Instead, survivors of sexual violence are mobilized through their involvement in civic networks. Stressing the agency of survivors, we contribute to the understanding of wartime sexual violence, the role of civil society in post-conflict politics and humanitarian policy.

Keywords: wartime sexual violence, political participation, post-conflict politics, list experiment

Suggested Citation

González, Belén and Traunmüller, Richard, The Political Consequences of Wartime Sexual Violence: Evidence from a List Experiment (January 30, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3529148 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3529148

Belén González

Leuphana University of Lueneburg ( email )

Scharnhorststraße 1
Wilschenbrucher Weg 69
Lüneburg, 21335
Germany

GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies ( email )

Jungfernstieg 21
Hamburg, 20354
Germany

Richard Traunmüller (Contact Author)

University of Mannheim - School of Social Sciences ( email )

Germany

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