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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Three types of wartime sexual violence : recruitement and retention of armed combatants in civil war Luedke, Alicia Elaine


Most mainstream studies of violence in civil war have focused almost exclusively on lethal forms of violence against civilians, emphasizing the dilemmas of initiating and sustaining an insurgency from the perspective of an armed group’s leadership. Consequently, little research has been conducted to account for what kinds of insurgent organizations will engage in what ‘types’ of wartime sexual violence. By ‘type’ of wartime sexual violence, this paper refers to its purposes as: i.) a reward for foot soldiers and tool of opportunism; ii.) a weapon of war for threatening and intimidating a population; and iii.) a mechanism for facilitating in-group cohesion and discipline. It argues that by extending and elaborating on the logics used to explain lethal violence against civilians, i.e. the recruitment and retention of armed combatants in civil war, analyses can predict the ‘type’ of sexual violence a given armed group is likely to engage in during combat. Focusing on a typology of sexual violence constructed around armed group objectives not only offers a more detailed analytical account of insurgent behavior, but also advances the already limited study of sexual violence beyond subsets, such as rape or gang rape. After presenting this typology, the paper offers a theoretical framework and preliminary set of hypotheses with respect to what kinds of armed groups will commit which of these three types of wartime sexual violence. It concludes with a discussion of mixed method micro-comparative research designs and geographic information systems (GIS) as possible ways for researchers to distinguish between different outcomes of sexual violence in armed conflict.

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