Anne-Kathrin Kreft, who is visiting PRIO from the University of Gothenburg, will present her ongoing PhD research on 'Responses to Wartime Sexual Violence: Victimization, Agency and Women's Mobilization' in Colombia. Kreft is a Visiting Researcher at PRIO from September to October 2017. She is a Doctoral Researcher in Political Science at the University of Gothenburg and a member of the Research School on Peace and Conflict.
Awareness of wartime sexual violence has dramatically increased in the social science literature and in policy discourse in the last two decades, following reports of systematic rape in the conflicts in Bosnia and Rwanda. In discussing the significance and the consequences of this violence, much of the existing literature has focused on the negative effects for the victims, including trauma, injury and stigma. While these detrimental effects have rightly received ample attention, the active responses of women to conflict-related sexual violence remain understudied. In my dissertation, I seek to help fill this gap. I theorize, first, that women mobilize politically in response to the collective threat that wartime sexual violence embodies. Second, victims of sexual violence may engage in political activism as part of a process of post-traumatic growth. In cross-national statistical analyses, I find a positive association between high prevalence of wartime sexual violence on the one hand and women's protest activity and linkages to women's international non-governmental organizations on the other. In qualitative interviews with representatives of Colombian women's organizations I find support for the theorized collective threat mechanism (and indirectly for the PTG mechanism). Informed by the results of my first fieldwork trip, I hope to further examine how women "make sense" of wartime sexual violence, when I return to Colombia in January 2018. What are women's perceptions of the nature, causes and consequences of wartime sexual violence? And how do these relate to collective threat perception?
The brownbag will be chaired by Louise Olsson, Senior Researcher at PRIO.