Added: December 5, 2015 – Last updated: March 4, 2017


Author: Dara Kay Cohen

Title: Rape during Civil War

Subtitle: -

Place: Ithaca, NY and London

Publisher: Cornell University Press

Year: 2016

Pages: 288pp.

ISBN-10: 1501702513 (cloth) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-10: 150170527X (pbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

ISBN-13: 9781501702518 (cloth) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781501705274 (pbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century, 21st Century | African History: Sierra Leonean History; American History: Salvadorean History; Asian History: Indonesian History, Timorese History | Types: Wartime Sexual Violence / Indonesian Occupation of East Timor, Salvadorean Civil War, Sierra Leone Civil War



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


  List of Tables and Figures (p. ix)
  Acknowledgments (p. xi)
  Introduction: The Puzzle of Rape in Civil War (p. 1)
  1. The Logic of Wartime Rape (p. 17)
  2. Research Strategy, Cross-National Evidence (1980-2009), and Statistical Tests (p. 56)
  3. Mass Rape by Rebel Actors: Sierra Leone (1991-2002 (p. 98)
  4. Mass Rape by State Actors: Timor-Leste (1975-1999) (p. 127)
  5. Less Frequent Rape in Wartime: El Salvador (1980-1992) (p. 169)
  Conclusion: Understanding and Preventing Rape during Civil War (p. 191)
  Appendix (p. 201)
  Notes (p. 209)
  Works Cited (p. 245)
  Index (p. 265)

Description: »Rape is common during wartime, but even within the context of the same war, some armed groups perpetrate rape on a massive scale while others never do. In Rape during Civil War Dara Kay Cohen examines variation in the severity and perpetrators of rape using an original dataset of reported rape during all major civil wars from 1980 to 2012. Cohen also conducted extensive fieldwork, including interviews with perpetrators of wartime rape, in three postconflict counties, finding that rape was widespread in the civil wars of the Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste but was far less common during El Salvador's civil war.
Cohen argues that armed groups that recruit their fighters through the random abduction of strangers use rape—and especially gang rape—to create bonds of loyalty and trust between soldiers. The statistical evidence confirms that armed groups that recruit using abduction are more likely to perpetrate rape than are groups that use voluntary methods, even controlling for other confounding factors. Important findings from the fieldwork—across cases—include that rape, even when it occurs on a massive scale, rarely seems to be directly ordered. Instead, former fighters describe participating in rape as a violent socialization practice that served to cut ties with fighters’ past lives and to signal their commitment to their new groups. Results from the book lay the groundwork for the systematic analysis of an understudied form of civilian abuse. The book will also be useful to policymakers and organizations seeking to understand and to mitigate the horrors of wartime rape.« (Source: Cornell University Press)


Kalyvas, Stathis N. The Journal of Politics 79(1) (January 2017): e1-e2. – Full Text: University of Chicago Press (Restricted Access)

Wikipedia: History of Africa: History of Sierra Leone | History_of_Asia: History of East Timor, History of Indonesia | History of the Americas: History of El Salvador | Sex and the law: Wartime sexual violence | War: Civil war | War: Indonesian occupation of East Timor, Salvadoran Civil War, Sierra Leone Civil War / Rape during the Sierra Leone Civil War