Sexual Violence

Anita Gohdes

Anita Gohdes

Joint Postdoctoral Fellow, International Security Program, Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School
WAPPP Fellow

Anita Gohdes' research focuses on political violence, state repression, and the relationship between new media and conflict. During her fellowship, she is pursuing an empirical study of gender and political violence.

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de Silva de Alwis, Rangita, and Jeni Klugman. “Freedom from Violence and the Law: A Global Perspective”. (2015). Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

As UN Women has powerfully argued, concrete actions to eliminate the debilitating fear of violence must be a centerpiece of any future global development framework. The main objective of this paper is to review constitutional and legislative developments around gender-based violence, and how a human rights framework can support this critical element of the post 2015 global development agenda. We find that there has been major progress in establishing the right of women to live free of violence in both international and national law, and progress on both fronts has been especially rapid over the past decade or so. Today, national legislation in much of the world is consistent in not only prohibiting and criminalizing violence but also providing mechanisms to support victims and their families in a range of ways. The evolving jurisprudence on due diligence is a promising basis for holding governments accountable for gender-based violence in the context of the post-2015 framework. At the same time we recognize that the implementation of the laws on paper is often weak, and violence too often goes unreported. Moreover, information about the effectiveness of legislation and their implementation is scarce, and better efforts are needed in terms of both regular monitoring and evaluation. The important role of women’s groups and civil society is highlighted, both in terms of bringing about reform and monitoring implementation.

2015 Feb 06

Justice and Accountability in U.S. Rape Culture

12:00pm to 2:00pm


Harvard Kennedy School, Littauer Building, Belfer Library (L369)

This panel discussion will explore how justice and accountability for rape and other forms of sexual abuse may be affected by rape culture. Speakers will address rape culture in news coverage of rape and rape trials, whether aspects of rape culture extends to sexually abused children, as well as perspectives of victims about the justice system and how rape culture affects those who work with victims.  The program will be organized around four sets of research questions, which are listed below along with the speakers. 



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Klugman, Jeni. Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity. Washington, DC: World Bank Open Knowledge Repository, 2014. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The 2012 report recognized that expanding women's agency - their ability to make decisions and take advantage of opportunities is key to improving their lives as well as the world. This report represents a major advance in global knowledge on this critical front. The vast data and thousands of surveys distilled in this report cast important light on the nature of constraints women and girls continue to face globally. This report identifies promising opportunities and entry points for lasting transformation, such as interventions that reach across sectors and include life-skills training, sexual and reproductive health education, conditional cash transfers, and mentoring. It finds that addressing what the World Health Organization has identified as an epidemic of violence against women means sharply scaling up engagement with men and boys. The report also underlines the vital role information and communication technologies can play in amplifying women's voices, expanding their economic and learning opportunities, and broadening their views and aspirations. The World Bank Group's twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity demand no less than the full and equal participation of women and men, girls and boys, around the world.