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date: 29 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the two dominant understandings of sexual violence in conflict: that it is the predominant and paradigmatic concern at the nexus of gender and conflict, and that it is a tactic of war that is fueled by impunity. The chapter deconstructs the United Nations’ approaches to sexual violence in conflict and the increasingly penal response to sexual violence. It then tracks the roots of dominant understandings related to sexual violence to the women’s human rights movements of the early 1990s. The chapter concludes with critiques of sexual violence portrayals and the assumption that peace occurs in the absence of sexual violence. It also critiques the carceral response to sexual violence, which has problematically allied feminists with the police and neoliberal restructuring.

Keywords: sexual violence, tactic of war, carceral agenda, impunity, United Nations, women’s movement

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