Deconstructing the 2012 Human Security Report: examining narratives on wartime sexual violence

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At a time of increasing attention to the issue of wartime sexual violence, the 2012 Human Security Report (HSR 2012) sought to expose perceived biases in the mainstream narrative. HSR 2012 raised questions about the prevalence of wartime sexual violence, whether this form of violence was increasing or decreasing, the identity of perpetrators and victims, the state of evidence-based research and its challenges, and the policy implications of such analyses. While some of HSR 2012’s findings have been widely accepted, many of the report’s inferences are problematic. This paper uses HSR 2012 as a primary source to ask why narratives about sexual violence matter; why closely examining the report’s narrative, in particular, is important; and how we can be more reflective about what we can and do know about wartime sexual violence, given the opportunities and limitations of conducting research in this field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574-593
JournalInternational Journal
Issue number4
Early online date1 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Sexual violence
  • Human Security Report
  • Armed conflict
  • Conflict narratives


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