Project on Preventing Wartime Sexual Violence

Grand Temple: Great Hall. By Jean François Champollion (1790-1832).
Grand Temple: Great Hall. By Jean François Champollion (1790-1832).

Project Overview

Principal Investigator

Project Period

  • 2016-2019 (VR Grant Number: 2015-03094) with further research, outreach and collaboration results to be reported beyond this end date.

Participating Researcher

Research Assistant and Trainee group

  • Lani Anaya (2018)
  • Jack Breslin (2020)
  • Alexandra Hallqvist (2017)
  • Sofia Jarvis (2018)
  • Christiana Lang (2018)
  • Chiara Tulp (2018)

Project Description

With this project, we seek to improve our understanding of the ways in which armed actors prevent sexual violence (or how others may induce prevention). Our work on Preventing Wartime Sexual Violence developed from the research project called Disciplining Fighters: Understanding Armed Political Actors’ Control of Sexual Violence, supported by the Swedish Research Council (January 2016 - December 2018/Grant no. 2015-03094).We have furthermore developed collaboration with the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO) and the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA). A core aim is to study the variation in the conditions facilitating prevention among different types of non-state armed political actors such as rebel armies and armed liberation movements. Of particular interest are the following five dimensions:

  1. Norms and preferences
  2. Rhetoric and example setting
  3. Prohibitions and rules
  4. Training and indoctrination
  5. Patterns of investigation and punishment

The project researchers question how these dimensions shape patterns which foster or hinder different behaviours; and why various institutional motivations and political leadership contribute to sexual predation or prevention. The project’s data collection techniques include field-based research interviews and focus groups.

Selected news

October 2020: Angela Muvumba Sellström carried out a visiting research fellowship in the Programme Directeurs d’Études Associés (DEA) Fondation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme (FMSH), Scientific Platform: Violence and Exiting Violence. The visiting fellowship’s main purpose was to integrate comparative, anthropological and sociological perspectives, whilst deepening and sharpening concepts about how sexual violence may be inscribed with consequential meaning. 

Mapping Women’s Mediation Networks

Principal Investigator

Research Participants

  • Camilla Riesenfeld (Specialist, Dialogue and Mediation Prevention, Peacebuilding and Governance at FBA)
  • Anna Möller Loswick (Program Coordinator, Women in Peace Processes at FBA)
  • Christiana Lang (DPCR)

Project Description

How should we understand the growing number of Women Mediator Networks (WMN) that are currently forming? And is this a new phenomenon? Improving women’s access and influence in mediated peace processes has been an explicit objective since the formulation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995. However, progress has been very slow. This project addressed the gaps in our understanding by collecting data and material on all active WMN to learn more about this tool for change. In addition, it used interview material to explore what the existing WMN can tell us about how to improve access and influence of women in mediated peace processes and the role for the networks for preventing sexual violence in the context of an armed conflict and peace process. This project was a subproject under the Preventing Wartime Sexual Violence project and a collaboration between DPCR, PRIO and FBA.


Insights from the Inside: Women’s Mediation Networks as a Tool for Influencing Peace Processes (2019)
Civil society-led networks of women have for decades worked hard to promote peace in conflict areas around the world, and lately, a new wave of women's mediation networks (WMNs) are being established that are led by states or regional organisations. All these networks share a collective aim: To promote women's inclusion and influence in mediated peace processes. After nearly five years since the establishment of the Swedish Women’s Mediation Network (WMN), the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) teamed up with the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University and the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) to reflect on lessons learned from managing such a network. The collaboration resulted in the publication Insights from the Inside: Women’s Mediation Networks as a Tool for Influencing Peace Processes (pdf)

This publication would not be possible without the coordination and research assistance provided by Christiana Lang (DPCR-MSSc 2019), who, under the aegis of DPCR, carried out interviews and organised information on the networks between 2018 and 2019. The project team also acknowledges Hannele Hartto, for her assistance in 2017. We wish to express our appreciation to the FBA, to PRIO and to the coordinator colleagues that contributed their insights.

Contributing WMNs to the report (listed in alphabetical order)

  • Colombian Women Mediators Network
  • Danish Women Mediators Network
  • FemWise-Africa
  • Finnish Women Mediators Network
  • Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP)
  • Icelandic Women Mediators Network
  • Libyan Women's Platform for Peace
  • Mano River Women's Peace Network (MARWOPNET)
  • Mediterranean Women Mediators Network
  • Nordic Women Mediators Network
  • Norwegian Women Mediators Network
  • Regional Faith Women Peace Mediators
  • Swedish Women's Mediation Network
  • Women Alliance for Peace in Darfur (WAP-Darfur)
  • Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET)
  • Women Peace Mediators Network (PeaceWomen Across the Globe)
  • Women PeaceMakers Program
  • Women Waging Peace Network
  • Women’s Problems Research Union/Women’s Institute, WI – Baku


Public Symposium on Preventing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: From Theory to Practice, 13 December 2018, Uppsala

This public event was jointly sponsored with the Uppsala Forum on Democracy, Peace and Justice.Event Description: How should we understand the prevention of sexual violence of armed political and security actors? What types of armed actors invest in restraint and discipline, and why? How can the international community influence the behaviour of these actors in wartime and in post-conflict peacetime? This Symposium featured researchers and policy practitioners who work on issues of gender, sexual violence and armed group behaviour in conflict-affected settings.

Selected Publications

Selected Invited talks/Presentations

  • Muvumba Sellström, A. “Wartime Sexual Violence: Prevention by Non-state Armed Political Actors?”  Sapienza University, International Workshop for the Course on the Role of Women in Peace Processes and Conflict and Mediation, Rome, Italy, 25 September 2018. 
  • Muvumba Sellström, A. “Disciplining Fighters: Non-state Armed Groups and Prevention of Wartime Sexual Violence” Fondation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme (FMSH), Scientific Platform: Violence and Exiting Violence, Paris, France 13 April 2018.