“Terribly and Terrifyingly Normal:” Political Violence Targeting Women

Authored by: Dr. Roudabeh Kishi, Melissa Pavlik, and Hilary Matfess

Categories: Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)
Region: No Region
Year: 2019
Citation: Kishi, Dr. Roudabeh, Melissa Pavlik, and Hilary Matfess. "Terribly and Terrifyingly Normal:" Political Violence Targeting Women. May 2019.

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Executive Summary

Women around the world are facing unprecedented levels of targeted political violence. New data on political violence targeting women collated by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) confirm that the threat of political violence towards women has grown, in particular over the past 18 months, and is currently at its highest level recorded since 2018.

This report introduces the new categorization added to the ACLED dataset and presents the first full analysis of data on political violence targeting women, as well as demonstrations predominantly featuring women. It unpacks key developments in political violence and demonstration activity involving women within the public sphere, ranging from war-time sexual violence and attacks on female politicians to active repression of women engaged in political processes. It confirms expected patterns previously uncovered: women experience a high level of political violence during war; the report also reveals surprising new trends, including the disproportionate use of intervention and excessive force against demonstrations featuring women.