Use of rape as a weapon is the (disgusting) norm in civil war

Patrick Burke for War is Boring:

But not every civil war results in mass rape. In fact, only 64 percent of the 91 civil wars between 1980 and 2012 featured wide-scale or systematic rape, according to data from Harvard Kennedy School associate professor Dara Kay Cohen’s recent book Rape During Civil War.

Surprising use of the word “only”. I would have thought the number to be much lower. This is a truly disgusting figure.

The study finds that mass rape is a weapon of terror in a civil war, but that there may also be a socializing aspect among the groups that perpetrate the raping. This is especially true if the soldiers are recruited by force.

Highly resourced rebel groups are also more likely to perpetrate rape than poorly resourced groups. This may be because highly resourced groups do not rely on support from the local population, and because a carte blanche to exploit the chaos of war for personal enrichment attracts the worst of people.

Surprisingly, neither ethnic aspects in a conflict nor the level of gender inequality in the country seems to have a correlation with the persistence of rape.

Leave a Reply