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Research gaps in Male-Directed sexual violence Part 1

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During a UN-sponsored seminar on sexual violence against men and boys in conflict Prof. Lara Stemple of UCLA discussed some of the research gaps that exist in the are of male-directed sexual violence. …

During a UN-sponsored seminar on sexual violence against men and boys in conflict Prof. Lara Stemple of UCLA discussed some of the research gaps that exist in the are of male-directed sexual violence.

Published in: Health & Medicine

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  • 1. This talk will explore:  Understandings & assumptions about gender  How these shape our response to sexual violence in conflict, including research  Questions about what research to prioritize
  • 2. Definitionsof Sex and Gender  Sex: biological; male and female.  Gender: social expectations for men and women and the unequal power relationships that can result.
  • 3. Traditional gender stereotypes Men  Naturally warlike  Aggressive  Strong  Invulnerable  Always want sex Women  Naturally peaceful  Passive  Weak  Sensitive  Reluctantly agree to sex
  • 4. War & masculinity  Ideal soldier maps on to ideas about masculinity (strong, brave)  Soldiers called “girls” when failing to perform  The more “macho” the military job, the more likely women are barred from it  Even when men fall as victims, viewed as heroic masculinity
  • 5. Gender policing occurs in different ways:  mockery  pathologizing
  • 6.  discrimination  violence (including sexual violence)  social pressure
  • 7. Extreme manifestations of gender are often celebrated
  • 8. Gender nonconformity is newsworthy.
  • 9. Our ideas about gender are so fixed, that flipping them is the story itself.
  • 10. Ideas about gender are especially rigid concerning:  armed conflict  sexual violence
  • 11. Traditional gendered narratives are found in international law, especially in response to sexual violence.
  • 12. International Human Rights Law (Including treaties, conference documents, resolutions and declarations)  Confuse the terms women and gender.  “Gender based violence” is defined as “violence against women.”  Male rape is ignored, even when gender-based (e.g., perpetrators exert control, victims often feminized).
  • 13. Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000)  “Calls on all parties to armed conflict to take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse…”  Subsequent SCR’s on sexual violence focus on women and children: ○ 1694(2006) ○ 1820(2008) ○ 1888(2009) a bit more inclusive ○ 1889(2009) ○ 1960(2010) more inclusive
  • 14. Security Council Resolution 2106 (2013)  Noting with concern that sexual violence in armed conflict and post-conflict situations disproportionately affects women and girls, as well as groups that are particularly vulnerable or may be specifically targeted, while also affecting men and boys and those secondarily traumatized as forced witnesses of sexual violence against family members; and emphasizing that acts of sexual violence in such situations not only severely impede the critical contributions of women to society, but also impede durable peace and security as well as sustainable development.
  • 15. Gender Inclusivity as Feminist Intervention  Over-emphasis on female victimhood & ideas that women are “noble, pure, passive & ignorant.”  Reinforcing male invincibility is bad for women.  Villains versus damsels in distress
  • 16. Data about sexual violence  Globally, about 3% of men and 13% of women have experienced rape (meta analysis).  MDSV data summary: p. 14-19 of UCB, RLP report  SV is underreported everywhere, in all contexts.
  • 17. Wartime sexual violence against men found in:  Former Yugoslavia  Croatia  Sri Lanka  Iran  Iraq  Greece  El Salvador  Chile  Congo  Sudan  Rwanda  and elsewhere, see lovely map!
  • 18. Why are male victims missed?  Assumptions that males aren’t SV victims  Health providers look for physical trauma  Victims don’t come forward due to stigma, shame, etc.  Laws not inclusive, even persecutory
  • 19. Conflict-related sexual violence in Liberia (Johnson et al., JAMA, 2008)  42% of female and 32% of male combatants  9% of female non- combatants and 7% of male non- combatants
  • 20. Conflict-related sexual violence in Congo (Johnson et al., JAMA, 2010)  30% of women and 22% of men reported conflict- related sexual violence  Other studies look at men or women
  • 21. Worldwide, female soldiers face pressure to fulfill conflicting gender roles.
  • 22. Female perpetrators  Public fixation with Lynddie England due to her flouting of gender roles at Abu Ghraib  Lawry DRC: 41% of women and 10% of men said perpetrator was female.  US juvenile detention: 94% of boys and girls reported female abuser.  Thorny yet important for women’s rights advocates.
  • 23. Sexual violence is not always about enemy engagement. UN peacekeeping forces have been charged with committing sexual violence against civilians.
  • 24. US Department of Defense Data on Sexual Assault in the Military  Female recruits far more likely to be raped by fellow soldier than killed in combat.  Females are more likely abused.  Most abuse victims are male.
  • 25. Framing & Methods Matter: SV in US  184,390 female incidents of rape/sexual assault: NCVS household survey  949,821 male incidents of sexual victimization of inmates, juveniles: BJS  1.270 million women and 1.267 million men reported nonconsensual sex: CDC household survey. Rape prioritized.
  • 26. Definitional Challenges in Research  Emphasis on penetration of victim/rape vs. sexual victimization  Definitions reflect preconceived ideas  Jargon rather than colloquial  Multiple identities (sexual orientation, civilian/combatant)
  • 27. How to tailor survey instruments for men?  Behaviorally specific questions  Numerous questions  Self-administered surveys  Confidentiality  Screen everyone: normalization
  • 28. Research needs:  Quantitative (gender inclusive)  Qualitative (gender specific)  Prevention (counterfactual challenge, donor preference for victims)  Screening (needed earlier)  Treatment/healing (scale up care)  Community response (cultural specificity)  Access to justice (safe, non-traumatizing)
  • 29. Research pitfalls:  Gendered & heteronormative assumptions  Lack of immediacy  Re-traumatizing victims  Lack of care following disclosure  Frameworks (i.e., crime versus health)  Methods that inhibit disclosure
  • 30. Can UN and civil society be gender-sensitive and gender- inclusive? A gender analysis is still needed for MDSV. Open doors: LGBTI, HIV/AIDS, children, other strategies?
  • 31. Lara Stemple stemple@law.ucla.edu
  • 32. International law neglected women’s rights at first. Women’s rights organizations used sexual violence to garner world attention to the plight of women.
  • 33. Limited Empirical Data  Summarized in pp. 14-18 of Berkeley Law & Refugee Law Project document  Almost all U.S. states  Many national laws around the world Sex-neutral does not mean gender-blind.
  • 34. Ignoring sexual violence against men: ∙ Is inaccurate. ∙ Promotes the idea that there’s one way to “be a man.” ∙ Creates a feminist dilemma. ∙ Leaves victims in the shadows. No one takes action.