Marks 2014 Violence

Title Information

Author: Zoe Marks

Title: Sexual Violence in Sierra Leone's Civil War

Subtitle: 'Virgination', Rape, and Marriage

Journal: African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society

Volume: Online before Print


Year: December 16, 2013


ISSN: 0001-9909 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1468-2621 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century, 21st Century | Sierra Leonean History | Types: Wartime Rape / Sierra Leone Civil War

Full Text

Link: Oxford Journals [Restricted Access]

Additional Information

Author: Zoe Marks, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of

Abstract: »Rape and sexual violence loom large in the study of civil war in Africa. Sierra Leone has been one of the most prominent cases for establishing rape as a ‘weapon of war’, yet little is known about how sexual violence was understood by commanders or combatants within the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). Mainstream analyses of armed groups and civil war rarely engage with gender dynamics, despite their centrality to war making, power, and violence; and research that does focus on sexual violence tends to overlook the complex internal dynamics of the groups responsible. This article examines the internal gender dynamics of the RUF from the perspective of male and female members in seeking to understand the perpetration of sexual violence. It shows that both formal and informal laws and power structures existed to regulate gender relations and control sexual behaviour within the group. It identifies four categories of women – non-wives, unprotected wives, protected wives, and senior women – and shows that women's interests and experiences of sexual violence were not homogeneous, but were instead shaped by their status within the group. In this way, sexual violence, examined in social context, provides an entry point for understanding how power, protection, and access to resources are brokered in rebellion.« [Source: African Affairs]


  Interviewing victim-perpetrators, perpetrator-vicims, and other participants in war (p. 70)
  Policing rape and controlling marriage in the RUF (p. 71)
  Sexual violence in women's words: 'virgination', rape, and marriage (p. 76)
  Sexual relations and gendered power inside the RUF (p. 80)
  Conclusion (p. 86)

Wikipedia: Revolutionary United Front, Sierra Leone Civil War, War rape

Added: December 28, 2013 | Last updated: January 25, 2014