Reshaping How Political Settlements Engage with Conflict-Related Violence Against Women
The exceptionalism attributed to acts of sexualised violence in war has reinforced the idea that what happens in war is different from that occurring outside of war. This counters long-standing feminist scholarship which has argued that violence against women (VAW) in conflict is a reflection of the everyday, mundane ways that women experience violence in their everyday lives. The paper presents a new ‘pre, during- and post-conflict framework’ to map, on the basis of theory and empirics, the inter-relationship between VAW within and outside conflict. Applied to the case study of Timor-Leste, the paper finds that common across time and space are the sustained presence of gendered harms, and that VAW is ambulant in nature and responsive to context, identifying connections and distinctions in VAW across conflict-time and peace-time. Through analysis of the Timor-Leste truth commission’s outcomes, the paper argues that an understanding of this complexity to VAW is essential to advancing gender-inclusive political settlements. The findings underline that sustaining an approach to conflict-time violence out of sync with how women experience violence within political processes means sustaining the structural inequalities that cause that violence, regardless of whether it is during or outside of armed conflict.
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