Violence against women and girls

The Carr Center conducts research on violence that results in physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women. We promote the implementation of a comprehensive global framework to tackle this grave threat to human security around the world.

Dara Kay Cohen. 8/2015. “Do States Delegate Shameful Violence to Militias?” The Journal of Conflict Resolution, 59, 5, Pp. 877-898. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Existing research maintains that governments delegate extreme, gratuitous, or excessively brutal violence to militias. However, analyzing all militias in armed conflicts from 1989 to 2009, we find that this argument does not account for the observed patterns of sexual violence, a form of violence that should be especially likely to be delegated by governments. Instead, we find that states commit sexual violence as a complement to—rather than a substitute for—violence perpetrated by militias. Rather than the logic of delegation, we argue that two characteristics of militia groups increase the probability of perpetrating sexual violence. First, we find that militias that have recruited children are associated with higher levels of sexual violence. This lends support to a socialization hypothesis, in which sexual violence may be used as a tool for building group cohesion. Second, we find that militias that were trained by states are associated with higher levels of sexual violence, which provides evidence for sexual violence as a “practice” of armed groups. These two complementary results suggest that militia-perpetrated sexual violence follows a different logic and is neither the result of delegation nor, perhaps, indiscipline.

2016 Sep 22

Book Talk: 'Rape During Civil War'

4:00pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

124 Mt Auburn St, Suite 200 North

Join us for a book talk with Dara Kay Cohen, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School as she presents findings from her recently published work Rape During Civil War.

Panelists:

Dara Kay Cohen, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, Author of Rape During Civil War

Elisabeth Wood, Professor of Political Science & International and Area Studies,...

Read more about Book Talk: 'Rape During Civil War'
Jia Xue. 2016. “Rape Myths and the Cross-Cultural Adaptation of the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale in China.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The study examines the similarities and differences between China and the United States with regard to rape myths. We assessed the individual level of rape myth acceptance among Chinese university students by adapting and translating a widely used measure of rape myth endorsement in the United States, the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance (IRMA) scale. We assessed whether the IRMA scale would be an appropriate assessment of attitudes toward rape among young adults in China. The sample consisted of 975 Chinese university students enrolled in seven Chinese universities. We used explorative factor analysis to examine the factor structure of the Chinese translation of the IRMA scale. Results suggest that the IRMA scale requires some modification to be employed with young adults in China. Our analyses indicate that 20 items should be deleted, and a five-factor model is generated. We discuss relevant similarities and differences in the factor structure and item loadings between the Chinese Rape Myth Acceptance (CRMA) and the IRMA scales. A revised version of the IRMA, the CRMA, can be used as a resource in rape prevention services and rape victim support services. Future research in China that employs CRMA will allow researchers to examine whether individual’s response to rape myth acceptance can predict rape potential and judgments of victim blaming and community members’ acceptance of marital rape.

Sharmila Murthy. 2014. “In India, Dying to Go: Why Access to Toilets is a Women’s Rights Issue.” WBUR Cognoscenti. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In May, two young women in rural India left their modest homes in the middle of the night to relieve themselves outside. Like millions in India, their homes had no bathrooms. The next morning, their bodies were found hanging from a mango tree. They had been attacked, gang-raped and strung up by their own scarves. Eighteen months after a gang-rape on a Delhi bus, this incident and others since have galvanized nationwide protests to end violence against women and highlighted caste-related discrimination. The tragic story also underscores the need to talk about another taboo topic: open defecation.

Jia  Xue

Jia Xue

Fellow

Jia Xue is a fifth-year student in SP2’s Ph.D. program in Social Welfare, along with a dual Master’s degree in Statistics in Wharton. Her research is motivated by promoting social justice and improving the well-being of vulnerable individuals and families who are affected by intimate violence. Her career goal of promoting social justice began with her studies in Law School, and an internship in China’s Supreme Court. Her research has focused on intimate violence, dating violence in young adulthood, child abuse and gender-based violence in international and cross-cultural contexts. She has been committed to working collaboratively across multiple disciplines, including social policy, health, criminology and social work.

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Dara Kay Cohen

Dara Kay Cohen

Ford Foundation Associate Professor of Public Policy

Dara Kay Cohen is a Ford Foundation Associate 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, and gender and conflict.... Read more about Dara Kay Cohen

124 Mount Auburn St. 200N-236
p: 617-495-7838
Martha Chen

Martha Chen

Lecturer in Public Policy

Martha Chen is a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, an Affiliated Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and International Coordinator of the global research-policy-action network Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO).... Read more about Martha Chen

Brattle Sq 1, HKS 557
p: 617-495-0797

Nadia Murad Basee Taha shares her story

Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman and ISIL survivor, came to the Carr Center for Human Rights to tell her story