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The political attention given to gender-based aspects of armed conflict, and sexual violence in particular, has created a demand for particular forms of knowledge and in this dynamic lies a tension for the academic community.This article presents an analysis of the social science literature on conflict-related sexual violence based on the notion of an social media campaign in 2017 has shown, it is that sexual harassment and abuse is a multifaceted phenomenon.
The focus has almost exclusively been on the predator and the personal and sociopolitical traits he embodies.
Conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) is a different kind of violence and abuse, but there are similarities with the started to speak up. Women who were held captive as sex slaves by Japanese forces one generation ago (Chai 1993; Chung 1994; Hicks 1994; Sancho 1997; Soh 1996) have told about their ordeals as so-called “comfort women.” Bosnian victims gave testimony to journalists and human rights reporters on such a scale and so early in the conflicts that the phenomenon could not be overlooked or ignored by policy makers, academics, and first responders in conflict settings (Allen 1996; Seifert 1994; Stiglmayer 1994).
The hashtag, based on a campaign initiated by activist Tarana Burke more than 10 years ago, and picked up by American actor Alyssa Milano, enabled a mode and a language to articulate experiences that far too many women had kept to themselves.
Person of the Year 2017, a testament to the impact the campaign has had.
From having been a hidden and overlooked phenomenon, CRSV became increasingly front and center stage in war reporting, fact-finding, and policy making in the 2000s.
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Further, the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 in 2000 and the pursuant resolutions that make up the so-called Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda ensured international political leadership and engagement in the prevention and mitigation of CRSV.In an annotated bibliography with an overview of these texts (Skjelsbæk 1999), the vast majority of the articles were of a conceptual nature.What characterized these texts was that they were hypothetical in outlook, assuming consequences of CRSV.Filmmaker Harvey Weinstein, and others in the American film and media industry, as well as prominent politicians, have lost their jobs, been indicted, or stepped down from prominent position, and the same has happened elsewhere in the world, notably in Scandinavia.However, the problem is bigger than a few bad apples, and in the Norwegian and Swedish context, this has been widely addressed.The same was true in Rwanda (De Brouwer 2005; Organization of African Unity 2000).In addition, more recently, we have heard Yezidi victims who have given testimony to the international press and at the UN about the same experiences, and more cases could have been added to the list of silence breakers.They assumed that victims would be ostracized, families and communities being torn apart, perpetrators looming large, and little or no political attention to these crimes. The core argument conveyed by the authors of these texts was the conceptualization of sexual violence as a weapon of war, and that academics and policy makers alike needed to recognize this.As we know, this was exactly the way in which scholars and policy makers talked about sexual violence in war in the years that followed.Before introducing current scholarly debates, it is worth reminding ourselves that at the time of the Bosnian conflict in the early 1990s CRSV was almost a non-theme in academic analyses and policy circles.The common understanding was that this was simply a by-product of armed conflict, not as a central feature of warfare.