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Research gaps in Male-Directed sexual violence Part 2


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During a UN-sponsored seminar on sexual violence against men and boys in conflict Jane Sigmon of the US State Department discussed some of the research gaps that exist in terms of male-directed sexual violence.

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Research gaps in Male-Directed sexual violence Part 2

  1. 1. Identifying Research Gaps in Sexual Violence against Males in Conflict Settings A frame for examining: what we know, what we don’t know, and what we need to know Jane Nady Sigmon, PhD
  2. 2. First: A Broad Definition of Research • A process of steps used to collect and analyze information to increase our understanding of a topic or issue • Three steps: – Pose a question – Collect data to answer the question – Present an answer to the question • Research questions or hypotheses flow from gaps in the literature and findings of new research
  3. 3. Sexual Violence Against Males in Conflict Settings A relatively new field prompts several questions: • Definition of the problem/issue – Sets parameters for scope and nature of the problem • Prevalence – how big is the problem? • Who is affected? Who is vulnerable? • What are the experiences of those affected? • What is the impact? • What responses are being implemented? • Are the responses effective? • How do we prevent this from happening?
  4. 4. Definition of the Problem Under the mandate of the Office of the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, conflict- related sexual violence refers to: Rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, and other forms of sexual violence of comparable gravity perpetrated against women, men, or children with a direct or indirect (temporal, geographical, or causal) link to conflict. The specific focus of this workshop is sexual violence (SV) against men and boys in conflict settings.
  5. 5. What do we think we know? • How we got here…Historical context has shaped our knowledge and the development of services re: SV • The lack of attention to SV against males – Sexual violence framed as women’s issue – GBV = VAW Paradigm results in: • Women = Victims = Protection • Men = Perpetrators = Punishment – Research on sexual violence focused mainly on females – Most services for victims of SV address needs of females – Attention to victims of rape in war (2002) has focused mainly on female victims. – Attention to SV against males is relatively new.
  6. 6. What do we think we know? SV against males is under-reported and under- resourced. • Why aren’t more cases identified? Barriers to identification by medical & aid personnel • Not trained to see physical sequelae of SV in men • Inexperience with the many forms of SV against males; some leave no scars • Misclassification of injuries as due to non-sexual causes • Gender bias: Belief that males are not susceptible to SV • Not trained in history taking or counseling with men who are victims of SV
  7. 7. What do we think we know? Why don’t more victims come forward? • Personal stories of survivors inform us about the barriers to seeking help: • Unique reasons based each person’s experience and situation • Lack of access to help • Trauma/PTSD; Difficulty explaining what happened • Fear of stigma and ostracism • Feelings of shame, guilt, and confusion • Narratives of masculinity that undermine help-seeking • Fear of being charged with a crime: same sex intimacy
  8. 8. What do we think we know? • Prevalence – Everyone wants numbers…. – Little is known about global prevalence • 2 recent country-specific prevalence studies (Liberia and DRC) • In last 10 years, SV against males in conflict zones reported in 25 countries – Literature describes where it occurs: armed camps, homes… – Literature on SV against children in conflict zones Focused on children in combatant-related roles Other children?  Is more data needed to demonstrate that SV against males is a significant risk in any conflict zone?  Is more data needed to justify additional resources?  Should building capacity to deal with SV against males be considered a component of any UN response in a conflict zone?
  9. 9. What do we think we know? • Who is affected? Direct and indirect victims? – Combatants and civilians – Adults and children – Families and Communities (local and country-wide) • What are the experiences of those affected? – Individuals: documented descriptions of the types of SV • What is the impact on individuals, families, and communities in conflict settings? – Increasing amount of documentation of physical, psychological, and material impact on men – Little documentation of impact on boys, families, and communities and differing impact on men and boys
  10. 10. What do we know about? Program implementation – little documentation • What responses are being implemented? – Victim identification and comprehensive services – Legal frameworks and criminal and civil justice remedies • How do we define program effectiveness? • Are programs evidence-based? • How can resource needs be better addressed? Prevention • How do we prevent this from happening?
  11. 11. What are the Research Gaps? • What do we need to know that will enable the UN, governments, and civil society to more effectively address SV against men and boys – using the 3 P Paradigm. 1. Prevention of SV against males 2. Protection, care, and assistance for victims 3. Prosecution of perpetrators of SV against men and boys