Dara Kay Cohen about her talk:
"Why do some armed groups commit massive wartime rape, while others never do? Using an original dataset, I describe the substantial variation in rape by armed actors during recent civil wars and test a series of competing causal explanations. I find evidence that the recruitment mechanism is associated with the occurrence of wartime rape. Specifically, the findings support an argument about wartime rape as a method of socialization, in which armed groups that recruit by force — through abduction or pressganging — use rape to create unit cohesion. I examine observable implications of the argument, based on months of fieldwork, in case studies of the conflicts in Sierra Leone, El Salvador and Timor-Leste. I conclude with an analysis of some of the consequences of conflict-related mass rape for the durability of peace and, more broadly, for post-conflict states."
Dara Kay Cohen is an assistant professor of public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Her research and teaching interests span the field of international relations, including international security, civil war and the dynamics of violence during conflict, and gender and international relations. Her current book project examines the variation in the use of sexual violence during recent civil conflicts; the research for the book draws on fieldwork in Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste and El Salvador, where she interviewed more than 200 ex-combatants and noncombatants.
Her research has appeared or is forthcoming in American Political Science Review, World Politics, Journal of Peace Research, International Security, and Stanford Law Review. She received her Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University in 2010 and was awarded the American Political Science Association's Award for Best Dissertation in Women and Politics in 2011.
Selected Publication Citations:
Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles
- Cohen, Dara Kay. "Explaining Rape During Civil War: Cross-National Evidence (1980–2009)." American Political Science Review 107.3 (August 2013): 461-477
- Cohen, Dara Kay. "Female Combatants and the Perpetration of Violence: Wartime Rape in the Sierra Leone Civil War." World Politics 65.3 (July 2013): 383-415
- Cohen, Dara Kay, Amelia Hoover Green, and Elisabeth Jean Wood. "Wartime Sexual Violence: Misconceptions, Implications, and Ways Forward." United States Institute of Peace, February 2013