Cohen 2014 Violence

Title Information

Authors: Dara Kay Cohen and Ragnild Nordås

Title: Sexual violence in armed conflict

Subtitle: Introducing the SVAC dataset, 1989-2009

Journal: Journal of Peace Research

Volume: 51

Issue: 3

Year: May 2014

Pages: 418-428

ISSN: 0022-3433 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1460-3578 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century, 21st Century | Types: Wartime Rape

Full Text

Link: SAGE Journals [Restricted Access]

Link: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University [Free Access]

Additional Information


Dara Kay Cohen, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Ragnild Nordås, Peace Research Institute Oslo

Abstract: »Which armed groups have perpetrated sexual violence in recent conflicts? This article presents patterns from the new Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict (SVAC) dataset. The dataset, coded from the three most widely used sources in the quantitative human rights literature, covers 129 active conflicts, and the 625 armed actors involved in these conflicts, during the period 1989–2009. The unit of observation is the conflict-actor-year, allowing for detailed analysis of the patterns of perpetration of sexual violence for each conflict actor. The dataset captures six dimensions of sexual violence: prevalence, perpetrators, victims, forms, location, and timing. In addition to active conflict-years, the dataset also includes reports of sexual violence committed by conflict actors in the five years post-conflict. We use the data to trace variation in reported conflict-related sexual violence over time, space, and actor type, and outline the dataset’s potential utility for scholars. Among the insights offered are that the prevalence of sexual violence varies dramatically by perpetrator group, suggesting that sexual violations are common – but not ubiquitous. In addition, we find that state militaries are more likely to be reported as perpetrators of sexual violence than either rebel groups or militias. Finally, reports of sexual violence continue into the post-conflict period, sometimes at very high levels. The data may be helpful both to scholars and policymakers for better understanding the patterns of sexual violence, its causes, and its consequences.« (Source: Journal of Peace Research)


  The SVAC dataset: Definitions and scope (p. 419)
    Scope (p. 419)
    Dimensions of sexual violence (p. 419)
  Data sources, biases, and limitations (p. 421)
    Possible biases (p. 421)
    Strategies to limit biases in the data/coding (p. 421)
    Limitations (p. 422)
    Related quantitative datasets (p. 422)
  Descriptive statistics (p. 423)
    Variation in highest reported prevalence by country and conflicts (p. 423)
    Variation in highest reported prevalence over time (p. 423)
    Variation across actor types (p. 425)
    Variation in targeting (p. 425)
    Post-conflict years (p. 425)
  Research uses of the SVAC data (p. 425)
  Conclusion (p. 426)
  Replication data (p. 426)
  Acknowledgements (p. 426)
  Funding (p. 426)
  References (p. 426)

Website: Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict Dataset

Wikipedia: War rape

Added: May 17, 2014 | Last updated: May 17, 2014