The PRIO-ICART research team will publish results based on your survey of women in eastern DRC where we assess the impact of support programs for survivors of sexual violence. An article is forthcoming in Medicine, Conflict, and Survival
In the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) there are several support programs for sexual violence survivors, but their impacts are rarely systematically assessed. We investigated the effects for women from two support programs that include both survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and others. Specifically, we estimated (i) the effect of SGBV on social exclusion and economic well-being, and (ii) the effects of support programs on social exclusion and economic well-being, as well as differential effects for SGBV survivors and others. Based on an original survey of 1,203 women, we found that survivors felt less included across various social settings, but their economic well-being was no different than that of other women. We also found that support programs significantly improve both perceived social inclusion and economic well-being for survivors and non-survivors. The effects on economic well-being were larger for survivors. In conclusion, these support programs brought important benefits to survivors and non-survivors alike, although there is potential for improvement, particularly on social inclusion for SGBV survivors.
2016 “Suicide Bombing ≠ Religious Fervor” Blog post, Friday, 8 April 2016: http://blogs.prio.org/2016/04/suicide-bombing-%E2%89%A0-religious-fervor/
Despite human rights treaties that are supposed to protect civilians, governments often abuse civilians during wars. Civilian atrocities are more common, research shows, when a civil war involves pro-government militias. Many scholars argue that governments deliberately outsource brutal violence to militia groups, allowing the state plausible deniability for breaking the laws of war.
Is it true?
What’s the evidence on governments, militias and brutal violence in civil wars?
While the delegation logic makes sense on paper, it is not supported by the evidence. In fact, militia violence and government violence are closely correlated, as two recent studies show.
A recent blog post by Dara Cohen, Jessica Stanton and myself in the Monkey cage explain further. Read it here:
No. Rather than the logic of delegation, we argue that two characteristics of militia groups increase the probability of perpetrating sexual violence. First, militias that have recruited children are associated with higher levels of sexual violence. Second, we find that militias that were trained by states are associated with higher levels of sexual violence, which provides evidence for sexual violence as a “practice” of armed groups. These two complementary results suggest that militia-perpetrated sexual violence follows a different logic and is neither the result of delegation nor, perhaps, indiscipline.
New published study by Dara Kay Cohen & Ragnhild Nordås on Patterns of Sexual Violence in Recent Armed Conflicts:
The article is free to download for a limited time only!
Existing research maintains that governments delegate extreme, gratuitous, or excessively brutal violence to militias. However, analyzing all militias in armed conflicts from 1989 to 2009, we find that this argument does not account for the observed patterns of sexual violence, a form of violence that should be especially likely to be delegated by governments. Instead, we find that states commit sexual violence as a complement to—rather than a substitute for—violence perpetrated by militias. Rather than the logic of delegation, we argue that two characteristics of militia groups increase the probability of perpetrating sexual violence. First, we find that militias that have recruited children are associated with higher levels of sexual violence. This lends support to a socialization hypothesis, in which sexual violence may be used as a tool for building group cohesion. Second, we find that militias that were trained by states are associated with higher levels of sexual violence, which provides evidence for sexual violence as a “practice” of armed groups. These two complementary results suggest that militia-perpetrated sexual violence follows a different logic and is neither the result of delegation nor, perhaps, indiscipline.
I’ve just returned from Bukavu, DRC, where we conducted a 3-week workshop/training of local researchers and students at part of our project on Female Empowerment in Eastern DRC.
The course included training in various research methods (qualitative and quantitative as well as GIS), substantive classes on conflict-related SGBV, introduction to conflict and peace research, as well as academic writing.
The MINDfields project is the brain child of Christian Davenport who has recruited partners in crime (Jacqueline DeMeritt, Will Moore, Ragnhild Nordås and Ernesto Verdeja) to conduct interviews with senior conflict, violence and peace scholars. The interviewees reflect on the trajectory of their research agendas during the arc of their careers, thus providing a unique perspective on conflict and peace research unavailable elsewhere.
Check it out here: http://mindfields.weebly.com/
PRIO has been awarded a new research grant from the Norwegian Research Council through the FRISAM program. The project period is from 2013-2015. Inger Skjelsbaek will lead the project.
The project seeks to advance the research on sexual violence and conflict processes, and facilitate evidence-based preventive strategies. Sexual violence has become widely recognized as a problem of international security, and a possible weapon of war and genocide. However, the scientific study of sexual violence has been hampered by a lack of reliable data. The SVAC project will undertake the most comprehensive systematic empirical analysis to date of sexual violence in armed conflict and post-conflict settings. The project centers around seven key dimensions of sexual violence: (1) Prevalence, (2) perpetrators, (3) targets (victim characteristics), (4) form (types of violence), (5) location (place/type), (6) timing, and (7) aftermath (post-conflict). We will produce and analyze two cross-nationaldatasets: The SVAC dataset on sexual violence by conflict actors (states, armed groups, militias) covering all armed conflicts (international and intrastate conflicts) from 1989 to 2012, and their aftermath; and a dataset on sexual violence in society at large based on existing household surveys in well over 30 countries. For data triangulation purposes, and to uncover and verify/validate theoretical mechanisms, we will supplement the cross-national analyses with disaggregated analyses of the micro-foundations of sexual violence in Bosnia, DRC, Peru, and Rwanda, using various methodologies and data types/sources.
At PRIO’s website Here.