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Carlo Koos | Senior Researcher, Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI); Research Associate, University College London
Rigorous research on the legacy of violence in civil wars has grown tremendously in the last years. However, systematic research on the prevalence and consequences of wartime sexual violence is scarce. Sexual violence has been widespread across the world’s conflict regions and while dozens of articles have documented narratives and testimonials of rape, trauma, stigmatization and social exclusion, there are hardly any representative quantitative studies on the prevalence of wartime sexual violence and its social and political consequences. Our research draws on new, representative microlevel surveys in several post-conflict countries. By and large, we find that victims and their families are socially more engaged in their communities and that there no indications of social exclusion or interethnic hatred. Our results raise important questions on the underlying mechanisms on why and how victims and communities exercise social resilience and provide important insights for practitioners in humanitarian agencies and development organizations.