Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Stanford University

Rape survivors in the eastern province of South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Photo credit: L. Werchick/USAID

September 5, 2013 - CISAC In the News

Cohen: Why do some armed groups commit massive wartime rape?

Dara Kay Cohen, a former CISAC predoctoral fellow who got her Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University, investigates in the American Political Science Review why some armed groups commit massive wartime rape, whereas others do not. She uses an original dataset from 1980-2009 and thanks CISAC scholars for their contribution to her work.

"I find evidence that the recruitment mechanism is associated with the occurrence of wartime rape," says Cohen, who is now an assistant professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. "The findings support an argument about wartime rape as a method of socialization, in which armed groups that recruit by force - through abduction or press-ganging - use rape to create a unit cohesion."

In this video, Cohen discusses rape and sexual violence during wars and conflicts.