Sexual Violence, Exploitation, and Abuse: Improving Prevention Across Conflicts and Crises

Authored by: Alicia Luedke, Chloe Lewis, and Marisella Rodriguez

Categories: Human Rights, Peace Support Operations, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Peacekeeping, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Region: No Region
Year: 2017
Citation: Luedke, Alicia, Chloe Lewis, and Marisella Rodriguez. “Sexual Violence, Exploitation, and Abuse: Improving Prevention Across Conflicts and Crises.” United States Institute of Peace. November 2017.

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Executive Summary

Recent attention to sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) on the part of military, police, and civilian personnel associated with UN peacekeeping operations and to conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) by state and non-state armed groups reveals policy silos that obscure similarities between the two and result in ineffective prevention efforts. Instead of being regarded as separate kinds of activities, SEA and CRSV are best seen as occurring on a behavior spectrum that ranges from strategically motivated to opportunistic. Much of this behavior revolves around power and is rooted in structural factors, including gender inequality, displacement, poverty, and economic deprivation. Policy responses need to go beyond an emphasis on accountability for CRSV, on the one hand, and the prevention of SEA through conduct and discipline on the other and address the underlying causes of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations, namely, gender inequality and the political, social, and economic vulnerabilities of civilian populations. Efforts to address SEA and CRSV should emphasize both legal accountability and appropriate conduct and discipline, as well as the root causes of such behaviors.