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State-Perpetrated Wartime Sexual Violence in Latin America

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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/20221

State-Perpetrated Wartime Sexual Violence in Latin America

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Title: State-Perpetrated Wartime Sexual Violence in Latin America
Author: Leiby, Michele
Advisor(s): Stanley, William
Butler, Christopher
Committee Member(s): Hochstetler, Kathryn
Wood, Elisabeth
Department: University of New Mexico. Dept. of Political Science
Subject(s): sexual violence
human rights
civil war
Latin America
Political violence--Peru
Political violence--El Salvador
State-sponsored terrorism--Peru
State-sponsored terrorism--El Salvador
Sex crimes--Peru
Sex crimes--El Salvador
Human rights--Peru
Human rights--El Salvador
LC Subject(s): Political violence--Peru
Political violence--El Salvador
State-sponsored terrorism--Peru
State-sponsored terrorism--El Salvador
Sex crimes--Peru
Sex crimes--El Salvador
Human rights--Peru
Human rights--El Salvador
Degree Level: Doctoral
Abstract: This dissertation examines the patterns and motives of state-perpetrated wartime sexual violence in Peru and El Salvador. Using a new database on sexual and other forms of political violence, it documents the prevalence and the patterns of perpetration of violence. It seeks to determine whose interests motivate the commission of sexual violence in times of war and why state armed forces commit more sexual violence in some regions and at particular moments during civil war than in others. The dissertation provides a theory of sexual violence perpetrated by state militaries during counterinsurgency conflicts. It argues that sexual violence is a deliberate act of violence perpetrated to advance the politico-military goals of the state. The results of a sub-national statistical analysis show that state-perpetrated sexual violence is most at times and in locations where rebel activity presents a threat to state power but where the rebels have not yet reached dominance. State-perpetrated sexual violence is infrequent in areas where the state retains control as well as in areas where there is a preponderance of rebel power such that the state cannot engage in counterinsurgency operations without risking a significant loss of life. Additional explanatory power is drawn from an analysis of the micro-patterns of state sexual violence and other forms of political violence in Peru and El Salvador. Victims of sexual violence are more likely to be educated women from urban centers who are socially or politically active in their communities. In addition, sexual violence is more likely to be perpetrated in private spaces and in state-run detention centers when commanding officers are present than other forms of political violence. Within the state armed forces, the army and police are more likely to engage in these forms of violence than other sectors of the security apparatus. Paramilitary groups and death squads are less likely to engage in sexual violence than they are to perpetrate other forms of violence, particularly lethal violence. The preponderance of evidence presented in the dissertation demonstrates that sexual violence is often an instrumental weapon of war wielded to defeat armed and unarmed opponents to the state.
Graduation Date: July 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/20221
Item Available: 2014-05-14

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