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Differences and similarities between rape in war- and peacetime


How can sexual violence in war be understood and prevented? Despite the well-established notion that sexual and gender-based violence runs along a continuum, there is little empirically based scholarship that explores how peacetime rape and wartime rape differ and/or are similar.

This is the focus of the new research project Sexual Violence Along the War and Peace Continuum, which is led by Professor Maria Eriksson Baaz, Associate Professor Swati Parashar and Professor Maria Stern. They have been granted SEK 6 million from the Swedish Research Council for the project, which will run from 2019 to 2022.

“There has been a marked divergence in the explanatory frames for explaining rape in peacetime in relation to wartime rape among scholars and advocates alike. We, therefore, sought to further explore the differences and continuances between conflict-related sexual violence and ‘peace-time’ sexual violence, noting that little research exists that does just this,” said Maria Eriksson Baaz.

The researchers will carry out in-depth studies of the forms, contexts, and logics of sexual violence in four different sites. Two of the sites are clearly deeply entrenched warzones (Uvira Provence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kashmir in India), and the other two are characterized by long-time peaceful relations and the lack of armed conflict (Mai-Ndombe in the DRC and South Delhi, India).

“The project will thus produce novel insights on the continuum and non-continuum of sexual violence between war and peace. In addition to providing original empirical data on how the forms, contexts and logics of sexual violence differ and converge by collecting original data in two countries (the DRC and India), it also seeks to enhance our understanding of the frames that limits our abilities/willingness to note and address continuances of violence,” said Maria Eriksson Baaz.

More information:
Maria Eriksson Baaz, professor at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, and the Department of Political Science, Uppsala University.

Swati Parashar, associate professor at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg.

Maria Stern, professor at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg.