The Social and Political Consequences of Wartime Sexual Violence: New Evidence from List Experiments in Three Conflict-Affected Populations

47 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2021 Last revised: 22 Nov 2021

See all articles by Carlo Koos

Carlo Koos

University of Bergen

Richard Traunmüller

University of Mannheim - School of Social Sciences

Date Written: March 3, 2021

Abstract

Wartime sexual violence is widespread across conflict zones and thought to leave a disastrous legacy for survivors, communities and nations. Yet, systematic studies on i) the prevalence and ii) the social and political consequences of wartime sexual violence are fraught with severe data limitations. Based on original individual-level survey evidence from three conflict-affected populations in Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sri Lanka, we make two contributions: First, we demonstrate the potential of list experiments for overcoming under-reporting bias and estimating population-based prevalence rates of sexual violence. Second, we estimate the effect of sexual violence on key outcomes of social and political development: civic participation, interethnic relations, and political trust. Across all three populations, exposure to wartime sexual violence increases civic participation. While interethnic relations remain largely unaffected, the impact on political trust varies across contexts. This cumulative evidence suggests that survivors are more resilient to wartime sexual violence than acknowledged in prior research and policy interventions.

Keywords: Violence, legacy, list experiment, democracy, postconflict

Suggested Citation

Koos, Carlo and Traunmüller, Richard, The Social and Political Consequences of Wartime Sexual Violence: New Evidence from List Experiments in Three Conflict-Affected Populations (March 3, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3796815 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3796815

Carlo Koos (Contact Author)

University of Bergen ( email )

Bergen
Norway

Richard Traunmüller

University of Mannheim - School of Social Sciences ( email )

Germany

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