Violence Begets Violence: Armed Conflict and Domestic Sexual Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa

Conference Paper

Østby, Gudrun (2014) Violence Begets Violence: Armed Conflict and Domestic Sexual Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, presented at SVAC (Sexual Violence and Armed Conflict) Workshop, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 2–3 September.

​Although the majority of the direct victims of war are men, women face more insidious challenges, such as difficulty in providing for families and coping with sexual violence. The consequences of a conflict in terms of sexual violence are not limited to the abuses performed by conflict actors, nor are they limited to the period when the conflict was active. This paper argues that it is likely that a large share of rape is domestic, and that such gender-based violence continues post-conflict. Combining subnational data on armed conflict events from the GED-UCDP dataset with Demographic and Health survey data from 17 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa for a total of 95,913 women aged 15-49 I analyzes the impact of conflict intensity on intimate partner sexual violence (IPSV). Individual-level analyses show that there is an independent, significant effect of armed conflict intensity in the home region of the respondent as regards her risk of experiencing IPSV. This result is robust even when controlling for factors such as childhood exposure to parent violence and the husband's alcohol consumption. Hence, domestic sexual violence seems to be a significant part of the story when we try to capture the magnitude of conflict-related sexual violence.

Authors

Gudrun Østby

Gudrun Østby

Senior Researcher, Editor - Journal of Peace Research

Research Groups