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Women & Armed Conflicts and the issue of Sexual Violence
Armed conflicts affect women and men differently. Although women are not inherently vulnerable, they frequently face heightened danger in these situations of violence, including the increased risk of sexual violence. Security concerns, the destruction of infrastructure and separation from male relatives can drastically affect women’s socio-economic condition and personal safety. Furthermore, women do not belong to a homogeneous group : depending on the cultural and social context of their country, their religious identities and other factors related to their personal circumstances such as age, level of education and marital status, women will have different needs and vulnerabilities and will be able to deploy different coping mechanisms and display varying levels of resilience. Based on their capacity for resilience, women can also be important actors in conflict and post-conflict situations for their families and communities. The issues surrounding women in armed conflict, as well as the specific issue of sexual violence in armed conflict, pose numerous challenges to policy makers and humanitarian actors. In order to properly address them, these challenges require further in-depth analyses that enable the development of more effective and systematic approaches.