Variation in Sexual Violence during War

Authored by: Elisabeth Jean Wood

Categories: Human Rights, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Access to Justice and Rule of Law, Human Development, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Sexual and Reproductive Health
Region: No Region
Citation: Wood, Elisabeth Jean. “Variation in Sexual Violence during War.” Politics & Society 34, no. 3 (2006).

Access the Resource:


Sexual violence during war varies in extent and takes distinct forms. In some conflicts, sexual violence is widespread, yet in other conflicts—including some cases of ethnic conflict—it is quite limited. In some conflicts, sexual violence takes the form of sexual slavery; in others, torture in detention. I document this variation, particularly its absence in some conflicts and on the part of some groups. In the conclusion, I explore the relationship between strategic choices on the part of armed group leadership, the norms of combatants, dynamics within small units, and the effectiveness of military discipline.