Sexual Violence and Armed Conflict (SVAC)

Led by Ragnhild Nordås
Jun 2010 -
​​Sexual violence is widespread in many armed conflict contexts, and has detrimental consequences for the individuals and the communities that fall victim to it. The stories of the victims of horrific sexual abuses by armed forces have reached the ears of the world’s leaders, and the international community is now increasing the efforts to deal with this problem.

To better devise strategies to address the problem and install preventive measures, we need systematic knowledge about variations in where and when sexual violence occurs. This project maps sexual violence (including, but not limited to, rape) in conflict and post-conflict settings. Specifically, we will study the phenomenon of sexual violence in wars across a large sample of conflict contexts, and focus on who the perpetrators and victims are; why, when, and where sexual violence in war occurs – as well as where and when it does not occur.

The research has produced a database of sexual violence in armed conflict covering the years 1989-2009, published in Journal of Peace Research. See for more information.


Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Rustad, Siri Aas; Gudrun Østby & Ragnhild Nordås (2016) Does Artisanal Mining Increase the Risk of Sexual Violence? Micro-level evidence from Eastern Congo, Quality in Primary Care 24(2): 77–80.
Rustad, Siri Aas; Gudrun Østby & Ragnhild Nordås (2016) Artisanal mining, conflict, and sexual violence in Eastern DRC, The Extractive Industries and Society 3(2): 475–484.
Cohen, Dara Kay & Ragnhild Nordås (2014) Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict: A new dataset 1989-2009, Journal of Peace Research 51(3): 418–428.
Cohen, Dara Kay & Ragnhild Nordås (2015) Do States Delegate Shameful Violence to Militias? Patterns of Sexual Violence in Recent Armed Conflicts, Journal of Conflict Resolution 59(5): 877–898.
Skjelsbæk, Inger (2015) The Military Perpetrator: A Narrative Analysis of Sentencing Judgments on Sexual Violence Offenders at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Journal of Social and Political Psychology 3(1): 46–70.
Skjelsbæk, Inger (2012) Responsibility to Protect or Prevent? Victims and Perpetrators of Sexual Violence Crimes in Armed Conflicts, Global Responsibility to Protect 4(2): 154–171.

Book Chapter

Nordås, Ragnhild & Siri Aas Rustad (2015) Assessing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by Peacekeepers, in Olsson, Louise; & Theodora-Ismene Gizelis , eds, Gender, Peace and Security: Implementing UNSCR 1325. London: Taylor & Francis (138–162).
Nordås, Ragnhild & Lars Morten Bjørkholt (2014) Seksualisert vold i krig of konflikt [Sexualized violence in war and conflict], in Anita Schjølset, ed., Gender I Forsvaret. Oslo: Abstrakt Forlag (243–272).
Nordås, Ragnhild & Lars Morten Bjørkholt (2014) Seksuell utnyttelse og overgrep i internasjonale operasjoner [Sexual exploitation and abuse in international operations], in Anita Schjølset, ed., Gender I Forsvaret. Oslo: Abstrakt Forlag (273–300).

Popular Article

Stanton, Jessica ; Ragnhild Nordås & Dara Kay Cohen (2015) Governments don’t outsource atrocities to militias. Here’s what really happens., Washington Post - Monkey Cage.
Cohen, Dara Kay; Ragnhild Nordås & Elisabeth J. Wood (2014) Four things everyone should know about wartime sexual violence, Washington Post - Monkey Cage.
Skjelsbæk, Inger (2013) Soldaten som overgriper [The soldier that attacks], Forsvarets Forum.
Nordås, Ragnhild (2012) Spekulasjoner om seksuell vold [Speculations on Sexual Violence], Dagsavisen.

Conference Paper

Leiby, Michele ; Gudrun Østby & Ragnhild Nordås (2015) The legacy of war: Intimate-partner violence in Peru, 1980-2009, presented at APSA, San Fransisco, 3–6 September.
Nordås, Ragnhild & Priyamvada Trivedi (2015) QUEST: Coding Rwandan Narratives Of Sexual Violence, presented at APSA, San Fransisco, 3–6 September.

PRIO Policy Brief

Skjelsbæk, Inger (2013) Preventing Perpetrators: How to go from protection to prevention of sexual violence in war?, PRIO Policy Brief, 3. Oslo: PRIO.
Nordås, Ragnhild (2011) Sexual Violence in African Conflicts, PRIO Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: PRIO.
Nordås, Ragnhild (2013) Preventing Conflict-related Sexual Violence, PRIO Policy Brief, 2. Oslo: PRIO.
Cohen, Dara Kay & Ragnhild Nordås (2012) Sexual Violence by Militias in African Conflicts: Not a question of ‘delegation’ by states, CSCW Policy Brief, 1. Oslo: CSCW.
Cohen, Dara Kay & Ragnhild Nordås (2012) Sexual Violence in African Conflicts, 1989–2009: What the data show, CSCW Policy Brief, 2. Oslo: CSCW.
Nordås, Ragnhild (2012) Sexual Violence on the Decline? Recent debates and evidence suggest ‘unlikely’, CSCW Policy Brief, 3. Oslo: CSCW.


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