Sexual Violence and Armed Conflict
Sexual Violence and Armed Conflict
Every year, hundreds of thousands of women become victims of sexual violence in conflict zones around the world; in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone, approximately 1,100 rapes are reported each month.

This book offers a comprehensive analysis of the causes, consequences and responses to sexual violence in contemporary armed conflict. It explores the function and effect of wartime sexual violence and examines the conditions that make women and girls most vulnerable to these acts both before, during and after conflict. To understand the motivations of the men (and occasionally women) who perpetrate this violence, the book analyzes the role played by systemic and situational factors such as patriarchy and militarized masculinity. Difficult questions of accountability are tackled; in particular, the case of child soldiers, who often suffer a double victimization when forced to commit sexual atrocities. The book concludes by looking at strategies of prevention and protection as well as new programs being set up on the ground to support the rehabilitation of survivors and their communities. Sexual violence in war has long been a taboo subject but, as this book shows, new and courageous steps are at last being taken Ð at both local and international level - to end what has been called the “greatest silence in history”.
Show More
Buy Now


Order Exam Copy

For Lecturers Only

More Info
  • March 2011
  • 176 pages
  • 158 x 219 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $67.50
  • 9780745641874
  • Paperback $28.00
  • 9780745641881
  • Open eBook $22.00
  • 9780745658353
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgements
List of Abbreviations
1. Ending the Silence
2. Dimensions of Sexual Violence in Conflict
3. Sexual Violence and the Onset of Armed Conflict
4. Seeking Safe Space
5. Sexual Violence and the Global Political Economy of War
6. From Protection and Accountability to an Ethic of Caring

Selected Readings

About the Author
Janie L. Leatherman is Director of International Studies and Professor of Politics at Fairfield University.
Show More


"An impressive and important book, gripping but very readably written in a clear style. It should be read by all interested in international politics and human rights."
Medicine, Conflict and Survival

"Because of its clear and accessible style, gripping content, and intersectional focus, this book should be required reading for scholars and policy-makers as well as students in a number of different areas. While it seems targeted at peace and conflict courses, it would also be excellent in gender studies (clearly introducing gender in the context of armed conflict), human rights (highlighting women's human rights), and international relations generally, (addressing the 'new wars')."
Journal of Women, Politics and Policy

"An excellent introduction to the broad issues around gender-based violence and armed conflict which will appeal to readers in political science, sociology, development, criminology, peace-building/war studies."
Sociological Review

"Using richly detailed case studies, Janie Leatherman's Sexual Violence and Armed Conflict presents an important examination of sexual violence in conflict and suggests new ways of conceptualizing and understanding the complex causes and implications of such violence."
Journal of the American Medical Association

"An important read for researchers and students alike interested in understanding the causes and consequences of wartime sexual violence."
Acta Politica

"The argument is clear and concise, moving from simple binaries towards a more complex analysis of the causes of sexual violence in armed conflict. Despite the difficult content that is addressed, the book is accessible and would be useful for anyone interested or working in conflict areas."
Sexual Violence and Armed Conflict

"An essential work dealing with sexual violence in armed conflict, as its argumentation is very strong and does not leave much space for doubting the danger of the phenomenon and the necessity of action."
Central European Journal of International and Security Studies

"An impressive piece of work. This book deserves its position as the megaphone helping those working in the field to give it its voice."
Kelvingrove Review

"An important provocation for academics and practitioners working on issues associated with organised political violence."
Global Change, Peace and Security

"A nuanced, readable and compelling account."

"Leatherman not only reframes our concept of war, but of politics in general. She offers innovative insights in her explorations of legal accountability and social responsibility, of prevention and healing for sexual violence. A must-read book: courageous, groundbreaking, riveting, essential."
Carolyn Nordstrom, University of Notre Dame

"This is international relations at its best. Conceptually sophisticated, Janie Leatherman's book elucidates the factors that lie behind sexual violence in armed conflict: inequalities, structural injustices, and hyper-masculinity. I recommend it highly."
Valentine Moghadam, Purdue University

"This book makes a valuable contribution to understanding the complexity of sexual violence in modern war and to countering the silence and denial associated with it."
Patrick W. Kelley, Director, Boards on Global Health and African Science Academy Development, Institute of Medicine

Show More