Repertoires of conflict-related sexual violence: Introducing the RSVAC data package

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Dumaine, Logan; Ragnhild Nordås; Maria Gargiulo & Elisabeth J. Wood (2021) Repertoires of conflict-related sexual violence: Introducing the RSVAC data package, Journal of Peace Research. DOI: 10.1177/00223433211044674.

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​Scholars increasingly call for documentation and analysis of specific forms of conflict-related sexual violence. Moreover, accountability for crimes is stronger when specific patterns of victimization are documented. This article introduces the Repertoires of Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict (RSVAC) data package, which assembles reports from 1989 to 2015 of forms of sexual violence by government/states forces, insurgent/rebel organizations, and pro-government militias for each conflict and year. RSVAC compiles the reported prevalence of eight forms of sexual violence – rape, sexual slavery and forced marriage, forced prostitution, sexual mutilation, forced pregnancy, forced sterilization and abortion, non-penetrative sexual torture, and sexual abuse (as well as that of multiple-perpetrator reports of each form). It includes extensive qualitative notes on reported incidents, as well as ‘conflict manuscripts’ that include the relevant portions of source documents. Disaggregating ‘sexual violence’ into its distinct forms enables analysis of the reported presence of forms of sexual violence across time, conflicts, and organizations. We illustrate its usefulness by highlighting hitherto neglected global patterns it suggests, and also discuss limitations, potential biases and underreporting that users need to take into account. We outline several research questions that the data can help answer and suggest how the data package could inform policy efforts to address sexual violence and its consequences.

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