The United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), and Stockholm International Peace Research Institute North America (SIPRI North America) convened a group of expert scholars, policymakers, practitioners, and military and civil society actors to examine the issue of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict settings, identify gaps in knowledge and reporting and explore how to increase the effectiveness of current responses to such violence.

Through coordination with ARTWORKS Projects and funding by The Compton Foundation, USIP and its partners created a 12-minute video highlighting the main takeaways and key issues covered in the three-day symposium.

Sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict settings is increasingly recognized as a threat to international peace and security. Globally, state and non-state armed actors use sexual violence against women, men, and children to intimidate and terrorize populations, through forced displacement, destroying communities, and silencing of victims. When fighting ends, sexual violence often does not— undermining post-conflict reconstruction efforts and the transition to more stable, secure, and peaceful societies.

Despite the increased international attention to sexual violence as a weapon of war, including the adoption of UN Security Council resolutions, and important rulings in international criminal courts, initiatives to prevent or mitigate these violent acts continue to fall short. Existing international interventions may lack an integrated understanding of the causes for sexual violence and its implications for societies at large.

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute North America (SIPRI North America) convened a group of scholars, policymakers, practitioners, and military and civil society actors to examine the issue of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict settings, identify gaps in knowledge and reporting, and explore how to increase the effectiveness of current responses to such violence.

The goals of the three-day global symposium were to:

  • Take stock of current sexual and gender-based violence policies and programming lessons of national governments, civil society organizations, and international organizations;
  • Exchange information among researchers, policy makers, and practitioners about the latest research efforts related to causes, scope and patterns of sexual violence;
  • Strengthen the community of knowledge and practice beyond disciplinary and state boundaries;
  • Identify how to improve research and documentation capacity and new areas for research and policy action.

The explicit aim of the global symposium was to include findings from the latest academic research, as well as insights from practitioners working in conflict and post-conflict situations, including civil society actors, the military, and police. The symposium also launched the Young Scholar network--aimed at supporting PhD candidates and recently minted PhDs in their research and the dissemination of research results to the practitioner and policy communities.

Explore Further

partner logos

Related Publications

Women Help Nonviolent Campaigns Succeed, But Nonviolent Discipline Remains Crucial

Women Help Nonviolent Campaigns Succeed, But Nonviolent Discipline Remains Crucial

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

By: Matthew D. Cebul, Ph.D.

In recent weeks, the world has watched in awe as Iranian women rise in peaceful protest against their country’s violent and patriarchal theocracy. Their courage is at once extraordinary and familiar, paralleling other inspiring episodes of women-led nonviolent activism. Indeed, women have played central roles in many of the world’s most impressive nonviolent campaigns.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

GenderNonviolent Action

Taliban Escalate New Abuses Against Afghan Women, Girls

Taliban Escalate New Abuses Against Afghan Women, Girls

Thursday, October 27, 2022

By: Belquis Ahmadi

Afghanistan’s Taliban are escalating restrictions against women, sending armed men into girls’ classrooms and forcing staff to inspect girls’ bodies for signs of puberty to disqualify them from further schooling. Afghan women report Taliban enforcers beating women whom they find wearing Western-style pants beneath their regime-mandated outer robes. The Taliban are intensifying these assaults in response to women’s rights campaigns in Afghanistan and Iran, and amid their own struggle to consolidate power. The Taliban’s intensifying violations against women risk mass atrocities and may presage greater violent extremism and threats to international security. Policymakers must respond.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

GenderGlobal Policy

Iran’s Protests ... and the Afghan Sisters Next Door

Iran’s Protests ... and the Afghan Sisters Next Door

Thursday, October 13, 2022

By: Belquis Ahmadi;  Palwasha L. Kakar

Iran’s women are seizing worldwide admiration with 26 days of courageous defiance against their authoritarian government’s violent confinement of females as second-class citizens who may not freely work, marry, divorce, travel or even be seen with their heads uncovered. Less noted are this audacious movement’s existing, and potential, connections to the tenacious, 14-month campaign by Afghan women resisting the even tighter oppression of the Taliban. Street protest slogans, social media posts and other links illustrate a synergy between the movements that both should use in the difficult task of converting their inspiring courage into real change.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

GenderNonviolent Action

View All Publications