International Responses to Sexual Violence in Conflict: Where Do Men and Boys Fit In?
Until very recently, most academic researchers and international responders overlooked sexual violence against men and boys in political conflict situations. While a growing body of scholarship now investigates the gendered dynamics of conflict-related sexual violence against men and boys, and awareness of the pervasiveness of its perpetration has spread, male survivors have yet to be mainstreamed into international responses and on-the-ground service provision. A critical debate is whether the normative framework created by the UN Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda can address conflict-related sexual violence in a gender- inclusive, non-binary way while leaving space for the development of tailored, gender-specific services for individual survivors. This broad review of the literature supports the conclusion that the best way to address conflict-related violence against men and boys is not to separate sexual violence against men and boys from the existing agenda, but to work within this tradition to expand research on the gender-specific dynamics of victimization and violence. Doing so would help support the creation of gender-sensitive responses and funding streams that include men and boys in addition to women and girls, and design care and treatment mechanisms that take account of local cultural norms around gender. This paper sets forth that research agenda.