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Responsibility to Represent


Academic year: 2021

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Responsibility to Represent

Representation of conflict related sexual and gender-based

violence; a thematic analysis of World Bank and ICRC


Author: Julia Svensson

Supervisor: Anneli Winell, Uppsala University




Producing information today is unprecedented in both speed and accessibility. This is a benefit of living in these IT times. There is more knowledge available than ever before, which is as fantastic as it is problematic. It leaves both the producer and the user of this information responsible for assessing and interpreting it. This thesis has investigated what information has been produced on conflict related SGBV by the World Bank and the ICRC to see what representations have been established. Several documents from each organization have been collected, coded and thematically analyzed by using intersectionality and structural violence as theoretical lenses. These theoretical frameworks complemented each other in their use in this study as intersectionality was employed to look at what certain portrayals might mean for individuals, and structural violence was used to look at what the result meant on a larger scale. Ultimately, this thesis arrived at the conclusion that the portrayal of conflict related SGBV by the World Bank and ICRC is problematic. No organization is misrepresenting more than the other, but they do struggle on different themes. Overall, the main risk an organization runs when writing about this topic is to portray women as the only demographic group affected and the image that all women survivors are the same in that they are female. This leaves the consumer of this information with the assumption that conflict related SGBV only affects women, because they are women. This is wrong and it is problematic, as this thesis will explain in detail, along with other representations and analytical conclusions.

Key words: sexual and gender-based violence, conflict, the World Bank, the ICRC, representation,



Table of Contents




1. Introduction………...6

1.1 Sexual and Gender-based Violence……….6

1.2 The World Bank and the ICRC………...8

1.3 Representation……….8

1.4 Purpose and Significance………..10

1.4.1 Research Questions……….………...10

1.5 Thesis Outline………11

2. Previous Research………...13

2.1 Masculinities and Male Survivors……….13

2.2 Male survivors………...17

2.3 Reconceptualization………..18

2.4 Help-seeking attitueds…….………..20

3. Theoretical Frameworks………..22

3.1 Concept of Violence………..22

3.2 Intersectionality……….23

3.3 Structural Violence………25

4. Methodology………30

4.1 Thematic text analysis………...30



5.1. How is conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence represented in

World Bank and ICRC documents?...34 The World Bank……….34 The International Committee of the Red Cross………..36

5.2 Is there a difference between the representation of sexual and gender-based

violence in World Bank and ICRC documents?...38

6 Analysis………41

6.1 Sexual and Gender-based Violence and Conflict………..41

6.2 The value of Women……….43

6.3 Healthcare and SGBV survivors………...44

6.4 Gendered Violence………45

6.5 Gendered and Contextual Norms………..47

7 Discussion and Conclusion………..49

7.1 Theoretical Reflections………..51

7.2 Methodological Reflections………...52

7.3 Empirical Reflections………52





CEDAW – Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

DRC – Democratic Republic of Congo

ICRC – International Committee of the Rec Cross

GBV – Gender-based Violence

SGBV- Sexual and Gender-based Violence

SIDA – Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency

UN – United Nations




I would also like to thank Anneli Winell, my thesis supervisor, for her assistance and

continued support. I would like to say thank you to Lars Löfquist, Cameron Ross at Uppsala University. A big thank you to as the Network of Humanitarian Action, Uppsala University, University College Dublin and Universitas Gadjah Mada for giving me the opportunity to learn from you, but foremost be inspired by my peers.



1. Introduction

Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) exists on a global scale and hurts mainly women and those identifying as non-binary daily. It is part of the patriarchal structures of today and rooted in the seams of most societies. In conflict settings, social structures and systems are often under much pressure and tend to be exacerbated, which means that women are

increasingly vulnerable. However, women are more than just women, and there are multiple factors which factor in as to why someone is more or less likely to have to through SGBV in conflict, as will be made clear in this thesis. What is certain is that most survivors of SGBV will need assistance in some shape or form. Previous research suggests that assistance is reaching far from everyone who might need it. This is not only because of difficulties in accessing this assistance, but a lot comes down to local social norms and stigmatization. Independently of topic, visual or textual media is responsible for sometimes reproducing such social stigma and reinforcing norms. This thesis sets out to investigate and analyze what representations are being produced of conflict related SGBV in several World Bank and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) documents. In order to be able to analyze on both an individual and on a larger structural scale the theoretical frameworks employed in this thesis are intersectional theory and Galtung’s structural violence (1969). As this thesis’ main topics of focus are violence, gender and conflict both these theories are logical fits. They will be used with the intent of finding how conflict related SGBV is represented or potentially misrepresented.

1.1 Sexual and Gender-based Violence

In itself, SGBV is a physical and emotional violation to a person’s being. Any acts of violence related to gender norms and unequal power relations constitutes as SGBV. It is not only physical and psychological in nature, but can also present in the form of practical violence in the sense of being denied access to services (UNHCR n.d.). Breaking it down, sexual violence is a form of gender-based violence and cover all sexual acts, advances, trafficking or



prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, enforced sterilization, forced marriage and any other form of sexual violence […]” (United Nations 2018). Gender-based violence is broader term that includes any and all violations pertaining to gender, this includes economic inequality, unequal access to services as well as domestic and sexual violence (OHCHR 2014). Due to the scope of this study and the selection process, this thesis will be examining and analyzing representation of conflict related to SGBV, but with a narrowed-down focus on SGBV and sexual violence. This decision was guided by the material and the reasoning will be explained in full in chapter 4.

Legally, sexual violence is a crime which oversteps human rights law in several instances – the right to life, to health, and to bodily integrity, to name a few (Gorris 2015). Systematic SGBV falls under the definition of actions of genocide, war crime and crimes against humanity in the 1998 Rome Statute. Further, there are several Security Council resolutions under a theme the United Nations (UN) calls Women, Peace and Security (Davies and True 2015).

Healthwise, SGBV survivors are likely to incur not only severe physical injury, risk of pregnancy and potential disease, but also psychological trauma. These physical and psychological scars have been proven to affect a survivor’s future social and economic opportunities and abilities. These facts and consequences can be true for all SGBV survivors, no matter the context. However, the likely severity of the consequences is intensified during armed conflict or other humanitarian settings (Odwe 2018).

In countries or regions where armed conflict has been long-lasting, SGBV is usually widespread and has taken a systemic direction where the aim is far bigger than sexual gratification or violence against women. Such SGBV has garnered attention amongst the international community, and media especially, who frequently use the term ‘rape as a weapon of war’ or other similarly sensationalized terms. Sexual violence is more often the focus than other forms of gender-based violence. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is often used as a contextual anchor when talking about SGBV in armed conflict (Freedman 2011). Armed conflict and SGBV are two events which harm many and are globally

widespread. They can exist separately but become exacerbated when occurring



understand why SGBV occurs future studies must consider how overarching power structures are intensified during conflict (SIDA 2010; Freedman 2011; Trenholm et al 2011; Gaynor 2015;).

1.2 The World Bank and ICRC

The World Bank

The World Bank is a development organization with the overall goals; reduction of poverty, economic growth and promoting prosperity for all (World Bank n.d.). They partner with governments, the private sector and other organizations. A large part of their work is lending money to so-called developing countries (World Bank n.d.). They have pledged themselves to the fight against SGBV in conflict or other fragile contexts. The World Bank promotes long-term approaches and interventions as the problems are rooted in social structures and norms, both which will not change overnight. The public health sector and community level

programs are two key sectors which the organization state that they support in multiple ways (Al Tuwaijri and Saadat for the World Bank n.d.).


The ICRC is a humanitarian organization that adheres to the humanitarian principles of impartiality, neutrality, independence and humanity. Since the foundation of the organization, they have strived to alleviate suffering and provide assistance, while preserving the humanity and dignity of those affected. Today, the ICRC is one of the most influential and largest humanitarian organizations (ICRC n.d.). The ICRC stresses the importance of being able to both act to assist SGBV survivors, work with SGBV prevention at the same time as staying true to the humanitarian principles. When constructing programs or interventions they do so by being context-specific and using holistic approaches to address every need any affecter person might have. When expanding on their mission statement, the ICRC specifically mentions the use of intersectional analysis to understand the context and potential needs of survivors. To do no harm permeates all their practices and it aims to make sure that

everyone’s well-being and dignity is preserved at all time (ICRC 2019).



To represent is to convey something on the behalf of someone else. Even though it is

impossible to completely convey someone else’s message or story, it is important to strive to be as accurate as possible. When this fail and what is conveyed is wrong, it becomes

problematic. This happens in all forms of visual, audio or written media. There are evidenced shifts in representation over time, based on current events. Humanitarian organizations’ representation in advertising for example, changed significantly based on pressure from donors. For humanitarian organization this is problematic as a too misrepresented media risks jeopardizing the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality, independence and

humanity (Versterdaard 2013).

Vestergaard’s (2013) study shows that what is ultimately represented is susceptible to outside pressure. Another study, on humanitarian photography from the DRC, shows that by

reproducing the same images repeatedly, the expectations and stereotyping of the Congolese population is affected. Injured survivors of war have been portrayed as passive and unable by some humanitarian photographers. In contrast, when the researcher looks at photos taken by local Congolese photographers, an entirely different image is produced where the subjects are being active in their community and highlight the normality of their everyday life. The study concludes that is this is proof of how skewed representation can be, and often is (Graham 2014).

Misrepresentation is a somewhat common area of research in media studies where the

consequences of poor portrayal is being investigated. Establishing stigma surrounding certain topics is a common result of misrepresentation, as is creating wrong expectations and

stereotypes as evidenced by Graham’s study (2014). The stigmatization of mental illness is known as problematic and to some it is down to how it is represented in media and movies among other medias. A study shows that for this area the outlook is positive as massive critique and backlash from academia and other sectors have resulted in significant changes (Harper 2005).



the production of correct of faulty portrayal, so does any person or organization that produce any form of media. A textual analysis on representation of SGBV in World Bank and ICRC documents will therefore be the center of this study.

1.4 Purpose and Significance

Studies in humanitarian action and development studies have previously been two distinctly separate fields of research. Today, the overall research trend in the humanitarian field is to expand into fields and topics previously occupied by development studies. This trend is going both ways, as proved by the World Banks venture into launching a 100-million-dollar project on gender-based violence prevention in the DRC (World Bank n.d). Increasing attention is given to readiness, preparedness and prevention as well as recovery and reconstruction. This thesis will situate itself within this current trend as conflict related SGBV is part of all those phases. It is a societal issue that requires special attention before, during and after armed conflict or disaster. By focusing on structural violence and intersectionality a greater understanding of how SGBV is being framed and produced by key organizations from the development and the humanitarian field. SGBV is understood to be a stigmatized topic in many places and it is therefore crucial to broadcast inclusive and just representations of it.

Previous research suggests that programs focusing on SGBV prevention are likely to fail if that violence is not situated and understood in a wider social context. A lone focus on gender, or on the violence itself has meant that interlinked causes for SGBV are overlooked.

Traditional gender roles, socio-economic status and ethnicity being some of those

intersectional causes why someone is vulnerable in a certain context (Meger 2010; Freedman 2011; Davies and True 2015).

The purpose of this thesis is not to investigate longer edited and published texts, but to code and thematically analyze how SGBV is represented in texts documents produced in smaller scale.



How is conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence represented in World Bank and ICRC text documents?

Is there a difference between how sexual and gender-based violence is represented between World Bank and ICRC text documents?

1.5. Thesis Outline

This thesis is constructed by three chapters with the purpose of establishing a foundation on which the rest of the thesis will build upon (1,2 and 3). They will present and introduce key topics, concepts, research and theory. Chapter 1 introduces the basics components of the research questions, which ultimately are the cornerstones of this thesis are. The presentation of previous research in chapter 2 is as extensive as the topic is deemed to require. As are the explanations of the theoretical frameworks, intersectionality and structural violence, as well as the concept of violence, in chapter 3. The purpose is to provide multifaceted understandings of these frameworks, as well as clearly state how they are meant to serve the analysis in this thesis.

Chapter 4, methodology, will explain in detail how the empirical material was collected, coded and placed into themes. This chapter will also extend on the role of the researcher in this qualitative study. It functions as a middle-ground for this thesis, as it ties the introductory chapters together with the result and analysis-oriented chapters.

The first chapter in the second half is chapter 5. It will explicitly answer this thesis’ research questions. It will answer the question by using coded text extracts as evidence and refer to key parts of them. There is no theoretical or analytical component in this chapter.





2. Previous Research

This chapter will provide an extensive description and analysis of previous research. The aim is to not only identify a research gap, but also to arrive at a foundation on which this thesis will build on. Firstly, previous research on conflict related SGBV in general will highlight the complexity of the area as well as the wealth of research done on the topic. After, this chapter will go on to explain and explore current research trends on wartime SGBV in greater detail. The identified current research trends are; masculinities; male survivors of SGBV;

reconceptualization of SGBV; and attitudes towards reporting (Krause 2009; Mankayi 2010; Meger 2010; Trenholm et al. 2010; Dolan 2014; Davies and True 2015; Gorris 2015; Dolan 2016; Ward 2016; Davies and True 2017; Odwe et al. 2018; Schulz 2018) . The first three are more theoretical in nature and the links to this thesis-topic are clear. Attitudes and issues with reporting poses different questions but is a relevant theme as the purpose of those studies align well with the purposes of the empirical material analyzed in this thesis. Reporting is also crucial as they have direct implications for humanitarian practice, for example how

humanitarian organization can create safe environments to report in as well respond appropriately when they do.

SGBV in the context of armed conflict is a current and expanding topic in academia, which means that the existing body of research is rich. This thesis notes that some sub-topics are more researched than others and that some methodologies are more commonly used.

Interestingly, when searching for previous research it was found that most relevant articles are from recent years – meaning that this thesis places itself within a field of research going through a growth spurt. Despite the vast works on this topic, this thesis is important in the sense that it is a thematic document analysis as opposed to the more common type of study on this topic with empirical data from interviews and questionnaires. This will provide another angle and insight into organizational portrayal one would not get from interviewing staff or from looking at policy documents.



The body of research on SGBV has expanded as the amount of atrocious wartime crimes have been brought to light. Until recently, the major bulk of that research had been conducted with a focus on women and girls as the sole affected demographic group of SGBV (Carpenter 2006; Mankayi 2010; SIDA 2010; Dolan 2014; Gorris 2015). This is changing and there is a current trend shifting the focus to the perpetrators, and especially to how hegemonic

masculinity shape perpetrators and reinforce power structures (Mankayi 2010; SIDA 2010), but also how hurting the masculinities of survivors is part of the goal in structural SGBV. By raping men, their personal masculinity can be harmed, and societal norms are likely to

continue to harm them long after (Schulz 2018). By raping women, the masculinities of those men not being able to stop the violence is harmed and the goal is often to damage the seams holding society together (Trenholm et al. 2011).

Masculinities is an increasingly studied part of SGBV in armed conflict. Most, but not all, study what role masculinities or gendered personhood play in perpetrators. These works tend to involve interviews with soldiers and the focus is on violence against women (Mankayi 2010; SIDA 2010). These studies tend to land in conclusions that there are some distinct patterns. One being that the interviewees state that it is wrong to rape, but that they differentiate between rightful and wrongful rapes. In other words, they do view some as rightful (Mankayi 2010; SIDA 2010). In the empirical report carried out by SIDA, the

interviewed soldiers differentiated between lust rapes and evil rapes. Evil rapes were wrong or an act of true violence whereas lust rapes were also called normal rapes, stemming from justified male desire and need (SIDA 2010). Militaries are historically male-dominated and tend to foster masculinities which value violence and aggression. Theoretically, it is

recognized that masculinity is complex, contradictory and different depending on context. Therefore, the sociocultural context of the military and what social constructs are found there are key in these studies (Mankayi 2010; Schulz 2018). Heterosexuality, however, is

recognized by Mankayi (2010) as successful trait in the practices of masculinity in the patriarchal structures existing on a global scale.

‘Hegemonic masculinity’ is a concept which celebrates heterosexuality, physical fitness and rejects of what is deemed feminine. By acting aggressively and by conquering that which is feminine is said to prove one’s hegemonic masculinity (Mankayi 2010). Multiple studies note that military cultures are perfect environment for growing the hegemonic-masculine



often traditionally masculine at their core. The focus on war and the function to fight in, and win wars, enables violent acts which are later celebrated as heroism (Mankayi 2010; SIDA 2010; Trenholm et al. 2011 Schulz 2018). Often, it boils down to an accepted and celebrated side of the constructed hyper-masculinity that allows for men to justify rape in wartime (SIDA 2010; Trenholm et al. 2011). Traditional explanations for wartime SGBV usually involve the explanation of rape being an “[…] unfortunate side-effect […]” of war (Meger 2010:119). Such assumptions rests on myths about the male soldier being almost

animalistically filled with uncontrollable sexual urges and on myths regarding society in conflict-ridden context being temporarily rid of all moral and law (Meger 2010; SIDA 2010). Current research indicates that the reasons for sexual violence in conflicts are much more systematic and rests on social structures, such as gender inequalities, that exists in peacetime (

Mankayi (2010:592) highlights the term “warrior hero” as described by Woodward

(2000:641) and its centrality to masculinity in the military. Characteristics of a warrior hero include not showing emotions as this equals a strong mental state; being strong and physically able; being heterosexual and virile; and being able to conquer ground and win fights against hostile forces in unknown places. The warrior hero is both gendered1 and sexed2 as a man who posses hegemonic masculine traits. This relates to SGBV in multiple ways, one being equating using women’s bodies to conquer unknown places and winning. In this comparison the weapon is the man’s penis according to the author. Such likeness has been made by feminist scholars who mean that the military embodies the severity of patriarchy (Mankayi 2010).

Mankayi’s (2010) approach is constructionist and means to land in an understanding of how the participants view masculinity and how it relates to SGBV. The participants, from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), were all pursuing military careers and interviewed individually and in-depth for two hours each. Results showed that having a weapon gave the participants an increased sense of manhood. Several participants compared having a weapon to having woman. Results show that the opinions and views expressed by the participants are contradictory in terms of what constitutes ‘rape’ or ‘violence against

1 Gender is a social construct made up of norms, roles and expectations. They are not set and are

different depending social context (WHO 2011).

2 Sex is the biologically assigned ‘male’ or ‘female’ based on physiological characteristics such as



women’. Whether ‘no’ always means ‘no’ was questioned and understood differently by the participants, and as a result blame was put on the woman for not being forceful enough in her protests (Mankayi 2010). Sexual violence seemed to only be truly legitimate in the eyes of the participants when extreme physical abuse also occurred. In these examples of hegemonic masculinity, the focus is on the feminine sexuality and how that might have been partly responsible for a woman’s sexual assault (Mankayi 2010). Yet throughout these opinions and thoughts there was a contradictory narrative that no one should have sex without a partner’s consent. The intersection of gender and race is explored in the South African context where a woman of color is viewed as ‘easy’ if they had sexual relations with a black man, which reflects on the lingering consequences of apartheid. In the same intersectional binary logic, Mankayi found that the general view was that black men were assumed much more likely to be the perpetrators of SGBV (Mankayi 2010).

The list of why the military, or militarized contexts, are growing grounds for reinforced traditional masculinity ranges from logistical to organizational. Both the studies by Mankayi (2010) and SIDA (2010) lists being away from a partner as justifying toxic male behaviors; the power relations in the intersection of gender and socioeconomic status will affect contextual constructions of male sexuality in refugee camps for example.



2.2 Male Survivors

Another topic of research is on wartime SGBV where men are focused on as the affected demographic and what implications that bring. There are strong ties between this topic and to research on masculinity in armed conflict as it is commonly understood that the goal is to emasculate the male survivor (Davies and True 2017; Schulz 2018). Not only by

feminization3, but by showing he failed to protect his home and family. This ability is not

only mocked by the sexual violence itself, but by the many possible consequences of it which are often exacerbated due to lack of gender-sensitive and adequate healthcare (Schulz 2018). SGBV against men has some common traits; purpose of feminization and humiliation; stigmatized and kept silent; and socially ostracizing. The same stigma is found within what help is offered to male rape survivors (Schulz 2018).

There seems to be an academic gap in this body of research on more in-depth research focusing on survivors’ continued welfare beyond the initial aftermath. Due to legitimate ethical consideration and sensitivity in terms of survivors’ integrity, this type of data is difficult to obtain. Scholarly articles report that the recovery process is shaped by community acceptance or rejection, physical and psychological consequences, and offered help in a gender-inclusive manner (Mankayi 2010). Schulz (2018) conducted research in Northern Uganda through group discussions with male survivors of SGBV. Great concerns and care were taken to be as sensitive as possible and give as much agency over questions and answers to the participants. The material collected in Uganda was then used to deconstruct and create greater understanding for the concepts of feminization and emasculation (Schulz 2018). The author arrived at the conclusion that these concepts are too narrow for the long-term

experiences the survivors describe. Challenges to survivors’ manhood and masculinity is far too complex, dynamic and long lasting for these terms to represent the experiences of male survivors (Schulz 2018).

3 Defined by feminist scholars as devaluation, highlighting the gendered hierarchy which values



The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is pointed out for only including female victimization. Logically it makes sense according to Gorris (2015), as CEDAW is a UN body whose mandate, and focus, is on women. It is worth taking note of the consequences this narrow definition of SGBV may bring for other UN bodies and other organizations’ definitions and understandings. This narrow understanding risks

consolidating the masculine and heteronormative global hegemony. “If one theoretical and political challenge is to delink gender and women (and as an extension, gender-based violence and violence against women), another one it to expand the understanding of ‘identity’”

(Gorris 2015:422). Intersectionality and a common acceptance that a person’s identity is more than the physical form is a way forward according to the author. Gorris (2015) concludes on the important note that platforms must be created where the increased attention to male sexual victimization does not overshadow women’s but where the struggles can meet, and

experiences can be shared.

2.3 Reconceptualization

Studies on reconceptualization of what might be deemed problematic or too normative terms are an increasingly common topic found in this body of research. For example, Schulz deem the concepts ‘emasculation’ and ‘feminization’ having too many “[…] normative and analytical shortcomings” (2018:1118). Instead he uses the coined term “displacement from gendered personhood” to describe the extensive impact SGBV has on a person’s gendered identity (Schulz 2018:1118). He suggests this term and the framework it comes with are not only applicable to male survivors, but all survivors of SGBV during wartimes. Gorris (2015) focuses on the reconceptualization of ‘gender’ and ‘gender-based violence’ as an entry point to ultimately arrive at an intersectional approach that goes beyond the ‘two-gendered

dichotomy’. She does this by arguing that the UN has a structural history of silencing or hiding male survivors by placing policies on SGBV in UN bodies like CEDAW.

Davies and True want the research on SGBV in armed conflict to shift away from the main perpetrator- and victim-focus that has been dominant for some time and instead put some of the effort into study underlying causes and most importantly “[…] systemic gender



al. 2010; SIDA 2010) tell us, wartime SGBV is often used as means to other ends which are more political or structural in nature. For example, ethnic cleansing, emasculation of

surviving or onlooking men, or seizing of land (Davies and True 2015). Davies and True (2015) push the point that it is gender inequality, discrimination and other structural causes which are at the core of what makes SGBV increase during armed conflict. The authors critique most existing studies for not being anchored enough in local political and social contexts in their research (Davies and True 2015). This critique is especially applicable in the data collection process as it too will be affected by local gender inequalities and biases. Many studies lack a reflection on such data bias. In accordance with these statements by Davies and True (2015), Meger argues that local context is key in understanding and preventing SGBV – but more than that, there needs to be a greater focus on faulty gender politics that make SGBV and other harmful practices possible (2010).



2.4 Help-seeking attitudes

Another chunk of the main body of research on SGBV is the more practical, and less

theoretical, focus on attitudes on reporting and seeking services for addressing SGBV (Davies and True 2017; Odwe et al. 2018). Davies and True (2017:5) investigate the “tip of the iceberg” phenomenon which essentially refers to the under-reporting of SGBV. The reasons for only seeing the tip varies, according to the authors who use a case from Myanmar as an example of the narrative determining what is visible and not. The Myanmar armed forces have been at the center of attention to perpetrators. Davies and True argue that this focus risks eclipsing other forms of SGBV and in true critical feminist scholarly tradition they wonder what the silences mean. Many of SGBV crimes are often overlooked and rarely statistically recorded properly, policy is consequently base their decisions on incomplete or sometimes faulty datasets (Krause 2009; Trenholm et al. 2011). In short, they stress the point to look equally hard at whatever data is missing in reports on SGBV and what local context and biases might have to do with shaping the narrative (Meger 2010; Davies and True 2017).

Studies on help-seeking behavior and attitudes point to contextual and cultural factors as key in a survivor’s position on help-services. Some contextual factors pointed at by Odwe et al. (2018) are places where SGBV is common practice and places where violence is an everyday occurrence. Personal factors that are likely to determine one’s attitude is “[…] sex, age, marital status and education […]” as well as an individual’s own experience with SGBV (Odwe et al 2018:2). Through structured questionnaires, heads of households in Uganda told the authors about their socio-economic status, their experience with SGBV and with violence in general. A key finding was that women who had a negative understanding of SGBV were more likely than others to seek help. This also highlighted the need for an intervention to increase awareness of the negative aspects of finding SGBV justifiable. Awareness about what help includes, is according to the authors, crucial to what attitude a person has and their likelihood to exhibit help-seeking behavious (Odwe et al. 2018).





3. Theoretical Frameworks

This chapter will introduce and explain the two theoretical frameworks this thesis employs. Intersectionality and structural violence will both be used to thematically analyze the results from this study. First, however, as this thesis has a heavy focus on violence, different understandings of the concept will be brought up. Even though the introduction made clear what SGBV is, this section takes on a more abstract approach when discussing violence.

3.1 Concept of Violence

The definition and concept of violence has interested scholars for a long time and across research fields. Because of this broad and constant interest many definitions and

understandings have been established. Mainly, violence is understood either as violence as force or violence as violation. Beyond that, there are several sub-definitions. Conflict, non-conflict and post-non-conflict violence are often differentiated between. Interpersonal and collective violence, political and criminal violence are some definitions created to aid in the understanding and prevention of violence (Krause 2009:337). Krause focuses on armed violence on a global scale. By using a broad scope of research and some policy work he arrives at a cross-national understanding of the scale and understanding of violence (Krause 2009).

Krause describes the three understandings of violence, and their sub-categories, most

commonly used. ‘Conventional disciplinary violence’ is refers to the political violence of war and armed conflict. ‘Economically motivated violence’ is found largely in organized crime. Riots and hooliganism are collected under the concept ‘socially motivated violence’. Violence on an individual level, such as domestic and some forms of SGBV, are called ‘interpersonal violence’ (Krause 2009:338-9). The author does not delve deeper into structural violence as such but does discuss the indirect victims of violence. He is mainly referring to having to flee from your home, infrastructure being destroyed and the consequences of that. Those



under excess mortality. The DRC is explicitly used as an example of high levels of indirect violence (Krause 2009).

The aim by providing a broad understanding and abstract description of violence is to complements the broadness of SGBV. Violence is more than only physical violence in the same way SGBV is more than just sexual violence. Even if the analysis cannot mention or exemplify all types or definitions of SGBV or violence, it is important to remember that the concepts are broader than this thesis can hold.

3.2. Intersectionality

Lykke (2003) introduces intersectionality by pointing out how in Denmark, concepts like diversity, equality and gender power systems have become trendy in a way that seemingly made them lose all meaning. The problem, in Denmark and in other places, is that discussions on gender often stops there. Too rarely are other factors of inequality discussed, such factors being ethnicity, socio economic status, sexuality, age or capability. Intersectionality falsely hints at factors being added to one another and therefore meeting in some intersection. The reality is much more dynamic where aspects of a person’s life interacts in all dimensions of power and societal structures (Lykke 2003). Theoretically, Lykke (2003) places

intersectionality in the cross section of postmodern feminism, postcolonial theory, black feminism and queer theory. Kimberlé Crenshaw, one of the main scholars, makes a point of separating political intersectionality from the structural kind. Structural intersectionality concerns the asymmetrical power structures and relationship of ethnicity and gender, and ultimately means that such structures are interlinked. Using a political intersectional approach means that any attempt to change these power structures must construct policies on

intersectional principles addressing power imbalances of privilege and oppression.



Intersectionality refers to the intersections of one’s life such as gender, race, age, ethnicity, sexuality or disabilities and how they can only be understood together. Today, the structures of society mean the categories “[…] male, Christian, white, affluent, heterosexual, slim and young” are favored over other categories and in consequence, the bearers of those categories are favored. Using intersectionality as a lens to analyze the details of anything concerning gender allows examination of the complex and nuanced parts. This includes looking at local nuances of favored categories and what boundaries or chances they pose. The categories people ultimately bear will create expectations of behavior as well as help create norms for different groups/ categories (Staunæs and Søndergaard 2011). This relates to the research questions in that this thesis will be able to analyze what categories are represented and what that could imply or what consequences it could have.

Methodologically, Staunæs and Søndergaard discuss whether it is possible and beneficial to remove categories which are not as significant as others in some contexts. They argue that yes, there are situations where one category is more essential than another, without this meaning that the other category has no meaning at all. It is important that the analysis takes the context into account and does not unnecessarily stick to theoretical commitments. The authors state that supporters of critiques of intersectionality are often divided by the loyalties and directions different disciplines have (2011:47). Some criticize it for feeding into forms of colonial power by focusing on certain categories and white hegemony. Generally, those from political science or social science disciplines support intersectionality as an analytical tool and claim it counters white hegemony feminism and also challenges colonial leanings (Staunæs and Søndergaard 2011). Lykke (2003) mentions another source of criticism, namely the size of the concept. This is because of everything that can possibly be included in the term

‘intersectionality’ might make it unmanageable. Therefore, this thesis delimits the concept to mainly concern individual levels of analysis and what individual categories are used or not. This means that most analysis produced on larger societal structures will be looked at through a structural violence theoretical lens. However, it is arguable inevitable to not link

intersectional analysis on micro level to larger power structures. Issues concerning this is expanded upon in the evaluation of theoretical choices in chapter 6 in this thesis.



exclusion of some social groups. In detail, it means that they are investigating to what degree policies on gender-based violence truly consider how diverse inequality amongst women and men relates to other inequalities such a “[…] social class, race, ethnicity or sexuality”. Then, if one adheres to these policy and methodological notes and suggestions, an intersectional study can contribute immensely, as it will pay attention to areas and inequalities others would not (Lombardo and Agustin 2016:365). Verloo (in Lombardo and Agustin 2016) claims that intersectionality offers an additional perspective which can help policymaking cross

legislative texts. This could mean, for example, crossing legislation concerning migration and employment to target problems of discrimination against migrants in the workplace or in employment processes.

This thesis will use an intersectional lens to analyze how SGBV is represented in textual material from organizations with enough influential power to challenge or steer paradigms. The World Bank and the ICRC are prime examples of such organizations and this thesis aims to use an intersectional approach to challenge and unpack assumptions and to shine light on complexities in darkness (Staunæs and Søndergaard 2011). Lykke (2003) writes that

intersectionality is a theoretical tool suited in the pursuit of understanding the terms on which an individual live in any given society, especially a society characterized by change in gender relations, migration and societal structures. As this thesis’ main focus is on violence, gender and conflict, intersectionality is a logical fit for a theoretical tool. The coded material will be analyzed with the intent of finding what intersections are represented, how and whether they could be considered misrepresentations.

3.3. Structural Violence



peaceful. Or in Galtung’s words, there might be a general negative peace, but not a positive one. Positive peace can only be achieved if causes of structural violence are addressed and eradicated. This matters for this thesis as the armed conflict might be over at some point and projects implemented in wartime will impact on how SGBV related structures will be in a future transition and finally peace period. Structural violence is a violence that is not visible but built into societal structures and is only noticeable in symptoms like inequality,

oppression and discrimination for example (Galtung 1969).

Galtung defines violence as “[…] that which increases the distance between potential and the actual, and that which impedes the decrease of this distance” (1969:172). Later in this chapter, critique and issues with Galtung’s teachings will be discussed. There are a number of scholars and schools of research which do not agree with his conceptual understanding of violence. The main critique, as will be stated, is the broadness of it. This thesis takes note of this and as with intersectionality, will be cautious and evaluative of this critique. The concept of

structural violence complements the concept of intersectionality, because whilst

intersectionality focuses on aspects of an individual’s life, structural violence focuses on what structural processes in a society affects those individual aspects and, in the end, creates the intersections the theory focuses on. For this thesis, and the research questions in particular, it means that any representations relating conflict related SGBV to larger social structures will be looked at and analyzed through a structural violence lens. This will help the analytical discussion move beyond individual intersectional categories by applying them to larger social structures.

Although Galtung’s concepts of both structural violence and positive peace have been widely accepted by the scholarly community, there are those who disagree. One main critique, or quarrel, is with what Boulding calls Galtung’s normative thinking and consequently how the description of reality suffers because of it (1977). In detail, Boulding means that Galtung takes on both the role of the human being who is filled with feelings about violence and oppression and the role of the logical scientist who seeks the truth over emotion. Existing between these roles, according to Boulding, creates a tension which risks distorting his perception of reality (Boulding 1977). Boulding has further topics of contention with

Galtung’s research, especially with what he calls thinking in dichotomies, or in other words – simplifying the world. Examples of this simplification is: structural versus behavioral



is much more complex than these categories, and Galtung by extension, suggests. He critiques the terminology of Galtung’s negative peace, one of the concepts he is most recognized for. Boulding dives into the semantics and firstly argues that it should be war, not peace, and continues by claiming that “Peace is a phase of a system of warring groups. It is not just

not-war any more than water is not ice “(Boulding 1977:78).

Boulding does not believe that the egalitarian society Galtung advocates for would have been able to produce someone of “peak achievement” caliber like Galtung himself – and that therein lays the irony in Galtung advocating for such a society (1977:80). He shares his own opinions on equality when he writes that the cost of equality can be high, mainly in terms of quality and liberty (1977:80). Boulding, an economist, moves the discussion into property rights and how Galtung, as an egalitarian who still values liberty, simply cannot discard the notion that liberty and property are connected. In a society that values liberty and

consequently property, equality will flounder because some will treat property right and accumulate whilst some will do the opposite and decumulate. Boulding (1977) claims that it is the differential development that determines whether societies with the same preconditions develop to prosper or not. He basically puts all the blame or responsibility on culture.

The critique presented in this section have varied levels of relevance for this thesis. Most relevant is the critique Boulding (1977) aims at one of what he calls Galtung’s favorite metaphors: structural violence and positive peace. As this thesis will use structural method, it seems fair to respond to Boulding’s critique of it. By calling structural violence a metaphor that references a method is, according to Boulding (1977), a persuasive tactic. It can also be dangerous when the referenced method is wrong, which he means structural violence is. The main wrong being the implication that poverty, oppression, inequality etc. is the sole fault of ´thug´, or ´emperor´ and the solution must be to remove said thug or emperor (Boulding 1977).

In Boulding’s critique of structural violence, he claims that Galtung likens poverty and oppression to someone being beaten up by a “thug” and means that it is an inaccurate



Therefore, this critique seems void as Galtung appears likely to agree. Galtung’s concept of structural violence should have credit for opening the understanding of violence to include poverty, hunger and exclusion and consequently allowing theorizing about such impacts more accessible (Dilt et al. 2012). However, Dilts et al. (2012) argue that there are limits to the concept. The main ones being the broadness and vagueness and not considering historical or intersectional aspects of violence. Structural violence does not differentiate between sexism, colonialism, racism or class domination, which is problematic (Dilts et al. 2012). The relevancy of this critique led to the addition of intersectionality as a theoretical framework and lens for this thesis.

Dilts et al. (2012) credit Galtung for taking a step away from what he calls the conventional positivist definition and understanding of violence – the visible direct physical harm done to someone. In this view, the types of structural violence Galtung writes about are “metaphorical extensions of the ‘true’ concept of violence […]” (Dilts et al. 2012:196). As opposed to Boulding’s critique of Galtung, which meant that Galtung was unrealistic and too

metaphorical, Winter argues that Galtung did not go far enough. In the end however, none of them wholeheartedly disagree with Galtung, or his importance for Peace research (Boulding 1977; Dilts et al. 2012).For all Dilts et al. are meant to be critiquing Galtung, they do agree with the importance of separating different types of violence to highlight and better

understand them. Dilts et al. (2012) use Engels as an example of how to properly include and highlight invisible violent killers such as poverty and class domination. They especially find Engels’ explanation of how poverty is a violence that people know of, but do not see or act against, relevant and important. Therefore, it is known but not seen, in the same sense that structural violence is. Even though Dilts et al. (2012) agree with Engels’ call for continued research on a theory that accounts for violence that is not visible, they do not mean that Galtung’s structural violence fills this gap. In the end, the authors agree with Engels’

motivation and explanation for why a concept like structural violence is needed, more than he agrees with the actual concept created by Galtung



Coady harshly states that this gives right to revolutionaries and terrorists who resort to

violence. This direct physical violence would in this scenario be presented as a just reaction to invisible oppression by the society (Coady 2008:22). One of Coady’s main points of

contention is with the practicality of Galtung’s broadened concept of violence. He means that the abolition of all personal violence is possibly independent of the status of social injustice as they would require different approaches, methods and tools to solve the issue. The issue then is that if both types of violence fall under the term ‘violence’, they would require a joint approach to reach a solution. He uses slavery as an example, by claiming that physical slavery can be abolished without abolishing structural slavery – and points to most of the world as proof that it has already happened. One does not have to disagree to ask a follow-up question to such an example; in places where physical slavery is abolished but structural slavery has ended – has slavery really ended?



4. Methodology

This deductive study employed a qualitative research method in order to investigate and unpack several documents collected from the World Bank. As this inquiry explored text representations and did not aim to quantify any results it was deemed to be the appropriate method. When conducting a qualitative study, the author must present and reflect on not only their own positionality, but also on the process of collecting the data, sorting through the data and the overall intent. This chapter explains and motivates all the steps taken to conduct and complete the stages in data collection, sorting and presenting (Crenshaw 2014). As the data collection did not take place in the field, the reflexivity and ethical considerations concern the author’s positionality to the data and topic of research.

4.1Thematic Analysis



seemed to be of minimal importance for the conducting of this study (Ahrne and Svensson 2015).

4.1.1 Ethical Considerations and Reflexivity

Both previous research and several policy documents shared stories told by survivors. The stories were used to highlight the severity and brutality of SGBV in conflict situations. It was not the intent of this thesis to re-tell any graphic details or contexts belonging to someone else’s story. Permission and consent have not been given for this thesis to do so, nor would it add any academic value to this thesis. Since the primary data for this study consisted of un-cited documents which tend to be authorless, there was a certain risk of information being misinterpreted. One could not know from where or when the information in the analyzed documents came from. This thesis did not investigate content, but rather how the content was used, and therefore, these facts have not interfered with the result or analysis in any

significant way.

As this study employed intersectionality as a theoretical lens and has questioned the collected data on hiding the complexity of especially women, it was deemed crucial this thesis not partake in the same tradition of reproducing flat images of women. This fact paired with reflexivity being key in qualitative research, led to the decision that the social positionality of this researcher would be broken down into categories. The author of this study is female, white, from a so-called developed country, straight and non-disabled. These are some of the categories which have shaped the researcher and as such have the potential to shape this study. Many of these categories reflect a relatively privileged positionality. However, the increasing awareness of especially intersectional theory, combined with several years of academic studies have made the researcher aware of these privileges, positionalities and potential biases. As the academic background of the author was in both development and humanitarian action, an understanding for both fields exists and no significant bias was expected to interfere with the collection or analysis of the data. However, concerning the data collection process, as the only languages accessible to the researcher was English and



collected by the researcher. The study is fully reliant on secondhand contextualization and understanding.

4.1.2 Selection Process

The document selection process started by selecting what organizations to look for documents at. The World Bank and the ICRC were chosen for their impact and influential power in each respective field. Documents produced by both organizations were found using the search engines on each website. The documents found were then screened based on the following selection criteria; (1) the topic of each document must be on SGBV in conflict or post-conflict contexts; (2) it cannot be a reviewed policy document or a peer-reviewed article. During the selection process it became clear that if all documents from the searches ‘sexual and gender-based violence and conflict’; ‘sexual violence in conflict’; and ‘gender-gender-based violence in conflict’ would all be included the amount of data would be too much. Due to the scope of this study, it was decided based on what was stated by the UNHCR (n.d.), that sexual violence as a form of gender-based violence, would have to be used to narrow the focus of the

documents. Therefore, the search ‘gender-based violence’ in conflict ended up being discarded. Despite this it was deemed important to keep the SGBV terminology in order to keep focus on how these acts of violence are rooted in gender inequality and violence.

As described earlier the point was to analyze as non-academic documents as possible where the reviewing had been minimal in order to get honest answers to the research questions. Therefore, the second criteria meant excluding anything published in the ICRC’s own journal. The selected documents consisted of feature stories, press briefs, blogposts and interviews all found on both respective organization’s websites.

4.1.3 Coding



coding of documents just as well. Reading and familiarizing oneself with the documents before starting to code was important in order to see linkages between text extracts as well as to theory. The coding process generated a large sample of quotes which was then sorted and categorized. In later stages of the coding process some of these categories were deemed redundant and subsequently removed. The remaining categories were then thematically identified, and the codes could be put into the Framework and thematically analyzed (Bryman 2012).

4.2 Material

The empirical material consisted of one fact sheet, four blogposts, one press release and two feature stories from the World Bank and two feature stories, two articles and one statement from the ICRC. The types of texts are determined by the organizations and the different formats were deemed to matter little for this thesis. The only consideration this thesis has made was to be aware and to take note of the fact that the blogposts are authored by

individuals. However, as these individuals are published by the World Bank, and often tend to be employed by the World Bank, it was decided that this fact does not interfere with either the result or the analysis of this thesis. Even though the different types of documents are deemed fitting for this thesis’ purpose and focus, the author is aware that sometimes there are

‘contracts’ between media sender and receiver as the expectations of, for example, an interview and a press release are different (Larsen 2002).

4.3 Delimitations



5. Results

The World Bank and the ICRC paint different pictures of SGBV, and this chapter will specify how they do this by answering this thesis’ research questions; (1) How is conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence represented in the ICRC and the World Bank documents?; (2) Is there a difference between the representations of sexual and gender-based violence in the World Bank and the ICRC documents?

5.1. How is conflict related sexual and gender-based violence

represented in the ICRC and the World Bank documents?

SGBV in armed conflict is a major concern for both the World Bank and the ICRC, making it a fairly common topic to write about. The material this thesis has coded and later analyzed tells the story of two organizations who use different narratives and ways to discuss and represent the topic. Extracts and quotes from the texts will used to exemplify how the two organizations write about, and ultimately represent SGBV in armed conflict. The results will be presented by using the themes identified through coding.

5.1.1. The World Bank

The general impression after immersion in the World Bank material is that SGBV is written about in short sentences, with little to no background or context. SGBV is simply represented as any other global women’s issue. After reading and coding the material from the World Bank, certain patterns became clear. Those patterns, without any analysis or theoretical lens present their own narrative and linking to SGBV in armed conflict.

SGBV and Conflict

When the World Bank authors write about SGBV and conflict, they sometimes use colorful descriptions such as, “Chemical, biological and nuclear weapons make the list of weapons of

mass destruction, but Dr Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist in the Democratic Republish of the Congo and one of this year’s Nobel Prize nominees, wants to add one more: sexual violence”



Women’s Value

The attention to women’s value is common across the material and gives the impression that any project or program implemented to prevent or treat SGBV is done so with this value in mind. The following quotes are from two different texts produced by the World Bank, one has a named author and ones does not. Both feature a quote by Dr Denis Mukwege where he claims that the African economy will rise and fall with the well-being of women. The World Bank cannot be held accountable for Dr Mukwege’s words, or what representation they bring. However, they are responsible for using his quotes multiple times and for what purpose.

“Women in Africa are carrying the economy of Africa on their shoulders. If one destroys the psychologically or physically, the cycle of poverty is perpetuated” (quote by Dr Mukwege in

World Bank 2013)

“If you destroy a woman physically and psychologically, that woman, who has always worked to have her children healthy and go to school, is broken. And with her, an average of six more people are affected. If you want to rebuild Africa, women have to be part of that equation”

(Senges 2013).

Gendered Healthcare

In general, the World Bank documents does not go into detail or even mention healthcare in relation to SGBV in conflict. The texts that do mention it, however, tends to portray the needs of the survivors as holistic and more complex than just needing physical of psychological attention.

“With support from the State and Peace Building Fund the World Bank recently completed a

project to provide psychosocial, medical, legal and economic support to survivors of sexual violence n South Kivu” (World Bank 2013a).

Gendered Violence



violence is synonymous with violence against women in the World Bank documents. This is evidenced by how the language is used. It is never explicitly stated that they do not consider male survivors, but it is also never elaborated on explaining that gender-based violence is not exclusively violence against women. This theme is based on an underlying assumption identified while coding and it is featured in the vast majority of the World Bank material in this study.

“Women and girls can experience violence at every stage of their journeys, including in camps, transit countries, when they reach their destinations, and when they return home to a war-ravaged setting” (Arango 2018).

Gendered Norms

All but one World Bank text was coded to contain segments underlining the need to local change norms in order for anything to change for the better regarding SGBV and local practices and attitudes to violence.

“The Congo’s experience can be used as an example. On cannot change society for the better

if the society is sick” (Senges 2013).

“Addressing SGBV requires a concerted effort from men and women across the globe – not

only to push back against what is often viewed as cultural norms or accepted practices – but also to reintegrate survivors of violence” (World Bank 2015).

5.1.1. The International Committee of the Red Cross

After reading, coding and lastly creating themes for the material collected from the ICRC the general conception of the content is that its portrayal of SGBV is relatively context-specific and gender inclusive. The patterns found will be presented, then compared they will be compared to those of the World Bank’s material, in order to answer the next research question.



When the ICRC writes about wartime contexts and SGBV they do so by sometimes adding backgrounds – historical, conceptual or contextual.

“ Rape can also be a measure intended to prevent births: in patriarchal societies, for example, when a woman is deliberately impregnated by a man of another ethnic group, with the intent to have her give birth to a child who will consequently not belong to his/her mother’s group” (ICRC 2016).

“In fact that, in 2017, weapon bearers were behind 85 per cent of the incidences of sexual violence that we recorded in South Kivu Province is no surprise, given the significant presence of armed opposition groups and regular armed forces there (ICRC 2018).

Gendered Healthcare

When writing on more practical and tangible matters such as healthcare for SGBV survivors, the ICRC presents a survivor-centered and holistic understanding of existing needs.

“Above all, we demand that survivors are listened to, taken seriously and their needs are put first” (statement by ICRC president in ICRC 2019).

Gendered Violence

The ICRC material provides a relatively wider understanding of who can be a survivor of conflict related SGBV. The texts include men and boys more often than not, but never writes about the experiences of non-binary or what factors there are that makes women more likely to targeted. The representation they provide is that women, men and children can all be survivors of SGBV, women are unexplainably more likely to be than men. By including men in a parenthesis they are portrayed as being more of an afterthought rather than on equal grounds with the female survivors.

“The staff refer women (and men) who need medical care to the appropriate agencies”

(ICRC 2010).



“Sexual violence persists as a devastating phenomenon with damaging consequences for

victims – women, men, girls and boys – as well as their families and whole communities”

(ICRC 2016).

Gendered Norms

In the material when the ICRC discuss norms, they do so by both mentioning the need for change, but they also present and explain what contextual norms explicitly need change.

“Sexual violence is one of the rare crimes for which the victim can end up in the dock, isolated and rejected by the very community that should be giving support” (ICRC 2010). “There is also long-term psychological trauma. In addition, the victim may no longer be accepted by her community or even by her husband, and hence be separated from her children” (quote by Wilhelmine Ntakebuka in ICRC 2007).

5.2 Is there a difference between the representations of sexual and

gender-based violence in the World Bank and the ICRC documents?

In short, there is a difference in SGBV representation. This answer is based on the thematic coding conducted on text material from the ICRC and the World Bank. Just as stated in the sub-chapter before this, the World Bank has a greater focus on the present and the future, meaning that little textual space is spent on explaining how or why SGBV exists in certain places and what prevention methods are necessary or effective. In the majority of texts from the World Bank, there is an underlying assumption that SGBV only affects women. The ICRC too falls into that narrative a few times, for example “The top it all, the victim is often

ostracized by her community, and sometimes even cast out by her own family” (ICRC 2018).

The gendered pronoun her is the key word in this text extract. However, as evidenced by the quotes answering the first research question, the ICRC does include more information explaining the assumption that survivors of SGBV are women by sentences like this: “[…]



different prevalence as SGBV survivors to lesser extent. This is a major difference in representation of the SGBV in relation to who the affected people are.

Another major difference is the theme gendered value, which is in fact solely filled with findings from the World Bank’s documents. Findings within this theme was common enough to be deemed relevant finds. The theme is named after the economic, developmental and societal value mentioned in several texts from the World Bank. These are two quotes from Dr Denis Mukwebe from the World Bank blogpost “Sexual Violence is a weapon of Mass Destruction”, by Anne Senges, from 2013.

“I do think that women bear Africa’s economic future on their shoulders, because women fight for their children’s education” (Senges 2013).

“If you destroy a woman physically and psychologically, that woman, who has always worked to have her children healthy and go to school, is broken. And with her, an average of six more people are affected. If you want to rebuild Africa, women have to be part of that equation”

(Senges 2013).

This is a blogpost about sexual violence in the DRC, yet the narrative Senges provides by choosing to include these quotes is referring to women’s value as economic and

developmental. These quotes are not the World Bank’s, but they are used to make a point for the organization. This thesis will make no comment or point to analyze what Dr Mukwege meant with these statements, it will only concern itself with how they have been used in this and other texts. There were no findings in the ICRC texts that could be coded under this theme.



The theme gendered norms is divided into the sub-themes; pre-existing societal norms and the endeavor to change those norms. Both organizations mention that a change in norms is often necessary for survivors of SGBV to be welcomed back into and supported by their

community. Both organizations mention that such pre-existing norms tend to put the blame on the survivor and that this practice is key to change in the road to full recovery. However, neither the World Bank nor the ICRC explicitly write that the blame should rightfully be placed on the perpetrator. Both organizations portray a similar need for norm-changing in relation to SGBV, but only the ICRC spends any amount of space on discussing in detail which norms must change. An interesting non-find in all material investigated is the lack of tying SGBV in armed conflict to SGBV in peaceful context or any other structures larger than the local contexts sometimes used as examples.



6. Analysis

This chapter aims to analyze the above presented results of the coded empirical material. Whereas the last chapter answered the research questions, this chapter will add the theoretical lenses in order to delve deeper into understanding the representation of SGBV. The analysis will shine light on assumptions, simplifications and generalizations made by the World Bank and the ICRC. These analytical findings will then be compared in order to investigate any potential differences in how SGBV has been represented by these respective organizations. This is a document analysis and the empirical material to be analyzed consists of extractions of texts from various types of documents. Close attention will be paid to choices of wording and assumptions. The sub-chapters for this chapter are divided based on the six overarching themes found during coding; SGBV and conflict; Women’s value; Healthcare; Gendered Violence; and Gendered norms. The final coding protocol can be found in appendix 1.

6.1 SGBV and Conflict

This theme consists of two codes highlighting two different approaches to writing about and representing SGBV and conflict. In the first approach, sentences like “rape is a war crime” and “women’s bodies as battlefields” are commonly used. The other approach tends to focus on historical and legal aspects of SGBV in war. In both intersectional theory and structural violence, the more context provided the better (Galtung 1969; Lykke 2003). Reducing a woman first to her body and then comparing her body to a place of violence means stripping her not only of humanity, but of all categories she wears. As Staunes and Søndergaard (2011) claims, these categories are what creates not only someone’s personhood, but it is the

foundation for the expectations of them. Removing categories means removing expectations and that reproduces the portrayal of women survivors of SGBV as passive and impersonal vessels. As will be analyzed deeper in a later theme, the fact that the subject is ‘women’ it also repeats the older narrative that it is only women who suffer from SGBV in during conflict.


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