Evidence suggests the twenty-first century has witnessed a surge in armed conflicts and ethnic wars targeting marginalized communities, subjecting innocent civilians to violence and destruction. Among the tactics aimed to disrupt family and social ties within the existing communities, some armed groups and government sponsored soldiers have subjected vulnerable individuals to wartime rape and conflict-related sexual violence including physical and mental abuse. While the international community attempts to intervene militarily and judicially to quell the sexual violence, institutions and individual actors fall short of providing justice and accountability to survivors and victims of conflict-related sexual violence. Through the case studies of the Darfur genocide, Yezidi sex-slaves in ISIS controlled territories, and the civil war in eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, I explore the research question of how the international community can ensure justice, accountability, and support following armed conflicts enforcing ethnic genocide, persecution, and sexual violence, and what role can survivors play in mitigating the number of conflict-related sexual violence instances in the future? Through theoretical lenses such as post-colonial feminism, essentialism, constructivism, intersectional feminism, and the boomerang model, I assert that given variations in the motivations and type of conflict-related sexual violence and wartime rape across cases, it is especially important to consult and incorporate survivors from communities and societies directly affected by the violence in pressuring the international community in pursuing justice and designing effective policy responses to prevent further devastation from occurring in the future.
Kushner, Shayna, "The Phenomenon of Sexual Violence During Armed Conflicts in the Twenty-First Century: Entering the Era of Survivors as Agents of Peace" (2021). International Relations Honors Papers. 9.