Defence Releases Sexual Violence in Conflict-Affected Environments Research

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By Athena Yenko | February 12, 2014 10:17 AM EST

Australian Civil-Military Centre (ACMC) launched a research paper which shed light to sexual violence rampant in conflicted areas

The research paper looked into the rampant sexual and gender-based violence committed in conflict-affected environments like Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Mali, Sudan, Myanmar and Chad, among others.

The paper was titled Conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence: an introductory overview to support prevention and support efforts and was officially released at a Civil Military Leaders Workshop in Canberra.

Vice Chief of the Defence Force Air Marshal Mark Binskin explained that the paper elaborates the preventive measures that should be done to put a stop to sexual and gender-based violence.

"While well known, sexual and gender-based violence around conflict is complex. Often the subject matter itself is so overwhelming that it discourages consideration of an effective means to respond and prevent its occurrence in conflict and post-conflict settings. Crucially, throughout this paper, information is provided about what is being done to prevent and respond to this type of violence, citing international, regional and domestic efforts. By sharing operational research we can examine how best to implement gender considerations within international responses, and assess the impact on the lives of women and girls, men and boys in conflict and post-conflict situations," Mr Binskin said.

ACMC Executive Director Dr Alan Ryan added that new tools, researches and initiatives were being implemented to wisely respond to and prevent sexual violence.

"New tools, research and on-the-ground initiatives are being developed regularly, with a focus on how to constructively respond to and prevent sexual violence. This paper provides civilian, military and police around the world with an overview of sexual and gender-based violence as it applies to conflict and post-conflict environments. With its focus on improving understanding, the paper aims to support efforts to prevent and respond to sexual violence," Mr Ryan explained.

Key points of the research:

  • Women and girls account for the majority of survivors of conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence.
  • Sexual violence against men and boys is 'regular' and 'widespread' in conflict-affected environments.
  • Girls and boys account for a large number of survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.
  • Sexual violence has profound physical, psychological and social consequences.
  • Domestic violence is widespread in conflict and post-conflict environments.
  • Civilians continue to be vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping and humanitarian personnel.

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