The Social and Political Legacy of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: Evidence from List Experiments in Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sri Lanka
26 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 3, 2021
Conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) is widespread across the world's conflict zones and understood to leave a particularly disastrous legacy for victims, communities and nations. However, representative data and systematic studies are scarce. We present original survey evidence from three postconflict countries known for its prevalence of CRSV: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia and Sri Lanka. The main contribution is twofold. First, we present the value of using list experiments compared to direct questions in measuring CRSV. Second, we estimate the effect of CRSV on social and political outcomes: civic participation, interethnic relations and political trust. Across all three country cases we find that CRSV leads to more civic participation at the local level. The effects on interethnic relations and political trust vary across countries. Essentially, our findings challenge the dominant `weapon of war' narrative suggesting that CRSV destroys the social fabric of communities. The evidence supports are more optimistic outlook emphasizing that survivors, their families and communities exercise social resilience.
Keywords: Conflict-related sexual violence, list experiment, democracy, postconflict
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation