Project on Preventing Sexual Violence

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

Project Overview

Principal Investigator

Project Period

  • 2016-2019

Participating Researcher

Research Assistant and Trainee group

  • Lani Anaya (2018)
  • 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 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 2015 – December 2018).  Since the award of research support, we have deepened our topical commitment and now also seek to address how a range of other actors may address sexual violence pre-emptively, including international actors, peacetime political and security actors and non-governmental organisations. We have furthermore developed collaboration with the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO) and the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA). The overall project title, Preventing Sexual Violence, reflects this scope.  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.

In the sub-project Mapping Women's Mediation Networks the intersection between wartime sexual violence and the global women, peace and security agenda will be explored. 

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 addresses 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 uses 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 is a subproject under the Preventing Sexual Violence project. It is a collaboration between DPCR, PRIO and FBA.


Insights from the Inside: Women’s Mediation Networks as a Tool for Influencing Peace Processes
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.  

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

This event is jointly sponsored with the Uppsala Forum on Democracy, Peace and Justice Symposium.

  • Dates: 13 December 2018
  • 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 features researchers and policy practitioners who work on issues of gender, sexual violence and armed group behaviour in conflict-affected settings. The event is free and open to all.


  • Wallensteen, P., Wieviorka, M., Abraham, I., Aggestam, K., Bellamy, A., Cederman, L., . . . Ortiz, O. (2018). Violence, Wars, Peace, Security. In IPSP (Ed.), Rethinking Society for the 21st Century: Report of the International Panel on Social Progress (pp. 411-456). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. More information
  • Muvumba Sellström, A. (2016). Impunity for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: Insights from Burundi's Former Fighters. in Cheldelin, Sandra and Martha Mutisi (Ed.), Deconstructing Women, Peace and Security: A Critical Review of Approaches to Gender and Empowerment (pp. 228-254) Cape Town: Human Sciences Research Council. More information
  • Muvumba Sellström, A. (2015). Stronger than Justice: Armed Group Impunity for Sexual Violence. Report. (Development Dissertation Briefs) More information
  • Muvumba Sellström, A. (2015). Stronger than Justice: Armed Group Impunity for Sexual Violence. Diss. More information
  • Ndinga-Muvumba, A. (2012). Preventing and Punishing Sexual Violence: The Work of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region. More information

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. 


Angela Muvumba Sellström, P.h.D
Telefon: 018-471 7156
Post-address: Box 514, 75120 Uppsala

Louise Olson, P.h.D
Telephone: +4618-257 300
Postal address: Box 514, 751 20 Uppsala