Conflict-related sexual violence: social norms as a prevention mechanism

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Matos, Dulce : Miranda
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Sexual violence in wartime is a barbaric behaviour that affects everyone around the world. Despite sexual violence in wartime has gained more international attention over the last years, there is still a need to learn about this topic. Most interventions that aim to mitigate sexual violence tend to focus on external factors causing this behaviour, however this is not enough to stop it. The true nature of sexual violence needs to be understood. With this in mind, this thesis aims to understand how sexual violent acts are maintained, how and why people choose to comply with these harmful behaviours, why women and girls are the most affected and how human rights interventionists can implement effective interventions to end sexual violence. For this purpose, a multidisciplinary analysis of several theories and empirical works was made. Concluding that sexual violence results from collective expectations and beliefs within a group maintained by social sanctions (social norms). As for women and girls, it relates to gender norms that function similarly to social norms. In this way, interventionists should design a more dynamic and inclusive interventions considering social (gender) norms as the primary focus together with non-social factors (external and individual factors).
Second semester University: University of Cyprus
sexual abuse, armed conflict, war, sanctions, social aspects