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Explaining Wartime Rape In Armed Conflict: The Great Lakes (Sub ) Region

3689 words - 15 pages

MSc International Relations and Diplomacy
Master Thesis Lab
Draft Research Proposal
Jana Matejkova 17 March 2014

Draft Thesis Title
Explaining Wartime Rape In Armed Conflict: The Great Lakes (Sub-) Region
Draft Research Statement
Sexual violence in armed conflict and wartime rape has been part of the spoils of war from time immemorial. A long dismissed inevitable consequence of the conflict is now widely recognized as an important problem of international security. Its ruinous effects on victims, perpetrators and local communities include forced displacement, the spread of disease, the burden of unwanted children, and deeply traumatized populations. Wartime rape can have devastating repercussions for international security, and it threatens prospects for peace and post conflict reconstruction. Given the challenges of working in this setting, wartime rape has not been well studied.
No part of the world has been unaffected by wartime rape. However, there have been few efforts to gather comprehensive data, and there is little agreement why it occurs. The Great Lakes (sub-) region of Africa is no exception. Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda have been plagued by decades of political instability, porous borders and humanitarian crises, along with by internal conflicts and widespread violence. Within these conflicts, SVAC have emerged as a prominent modus operandi. Although there is an agreement about the use of strategic and systemic rape, there are many unanswered questions regarding its occurrence. I propose to test existing explanations for wartime rape using a dataset of all active armed conflicts in the period 1989-2009 and subsequently conducting explanatory case studies focusing on the selected region. The main objective is to shed light on the frequency of occurrence of wartime rape in a region that has witnessed war, political instability, and violence.
Without a clear comparative understanding, it is difficult to draw clear conclusions. Additionally, although scholars have made significant progress in studying violence during conflict, research on the human costs of civil war has focused mainly on deaths (Cohen, 2013: 462). Therefore, this research attempts to contribute to the existing scholarship; and can potentially challenge common explanation for wartime rape, with important implications for scholars and policy makers. Analysing the incentives to use sexual violence, as a strategic weapon of war would help clarify why the combatants resort to it. In the ultimate conclusion, such research would pave way for further cross-national/cross-regional research, which would help the international community as a whole to understand and possibly stop the most horrifying and least understood aspect of modern conflict.
Draft Research Question
a. Why does the degree of wartime rape vary across countries of the Great Lakes (sub-) region?
Draft Literature Review
Sexual violence and wartime rape has been a constant...

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