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More Robust Policy Discussion Of Wartime Sexual Violence Needed

Washington Post: Wartime sexual violence is not just a ‘weapon of war’
Kerry Crawford, assistant professor of political science at James Madison University; Amelia Hoover Green, assistant professor of political science at Drexel University and field consultant to the Human Rights Data Analysis Group; and Sarah Parkinson, assistant professor of global policy and political science at the University of Minnesota

“Sexual violence has played a prominent role in recent media treatments of wars in the Middle East. … To scholars of sexual violence, these media narratives look typical in three related ways: They are selective and sensationalist; they obscure deeper understandings about patterns of wartime sexual violence; and they are laden with false assumptions about the causes of conflict rape. The narrative in play here carries concrete implications for politics and policy, including the inadvertent aiding of perpetrators and worse outcomes for survivors. Policies that prevent and mitigate the effects of sexual violence require attention to the whole problem — not just one media-friendly subset — and to solid research on wartime rape. … It is essential that policymakers understand the experiences and priorities of people they are ostensibly ‘saving’ and the broader facts about patterns and prevention of wartime sexual violence. It is imperative to ask whether interventionist stories and actions ease or exacerbate the situations of victims and those at risk. And, moving beyond Syria and Iraq in particular, it is time for a policy discussion of wartime sexual violence that moves beyond the ‘weapon of war’ narrative to encompass the full range of perpetrators, tactics, victims, survivors, causes, and consequences” (9/24).

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