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Gender and Armed Violence in Africa

Gender and Armed Violence in Africa

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Published by woodstockwoody
Understanding the differentiated gender impacts of armed violence – whether in the home, during armed
conflict or in immediate post war contexts – is necessary for developing appropriate and gender-sensitive interventions and programmes.
Understanding the differentiated gender impacts of armed violence – whether in the home, during armed
conflict or in immediate post war contexts – is necessary for developing appropriate and gender-sensitive interventions and programmes.

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Published by: woodstockwoody on Mar 01, 2011
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Guns and roses:
Gender and ArmedViolence in Arica
United NationsDevelopment Programme
Written by:Adèle Kirsten, Independent ResearcherCover photoUN Photo/ Fred Noy
Government of theRepublic of Kenya
Introduction ..................................2Nature and Extent o GenderViolence in Arica .........................3Impact o Armed Violence........5International and RegionalInstruments ...................................6Interventions .................................7Conclusion .....................................8Suggested Readings...................8
Geneva Declarationon Armed Violenceand Development
Conerence Background Paper 
2   UNDP - October 2007
In 1998, Solomon Mhlongo emptied a magazine o bullets into his common-law wie Elizabeth and ve-yearold daughter Tlaleng. He stopped to reload and then continued ring until the gun jammed. Elizabeth waslet sprawling next to the bed, her chest, head, thigh and hand peppered with bullets, while their daughterlay slumped sideways in a blood-spattered chair. Solomon Mhlongo, a Soweto, Johannesburg resident was aregistered gun owner.
This is just one example o the gendered nature o armed violence – demonstratingthat men, women, boys and girls, respond to and are aected by armed violence in dierent ways. The tragicstory o the Mhlongo’s ts the emerging prole o gender and armed violence in Arica: men are the mainperpetrators o armed violence and women are particularly vulnerable in private spaces, where rearmsare oten used to intimidate, control, hurt and kill intimate emale partners.
Similarly, while women havetraditionally been excluded rom discussions o peace and security, it is now widely recognised that women’sexperience o war – whether as soldiers or civilians – is also dierent to those o men.Understanding the dierentiated gender impacts o armed violence – whether in the home, during armedconict or in immediate post war contexts – is necessary or developing appropriate and gender-sensitiveinterventions and programmes. For example, working with ‘both men and women in order to reduce risksand bolster resilience to insecurity and violence’
is one o the best means to avert increases in violence andpost-war armed criminality.This paper will ocus specically on the nature and extent o armed violence, including sexual violence,against women, both during and ater armed conict as well as within the amily domain, thereby illustratingthe linkages between the various orms o gender violence. Studies both in Arica and elsewhere show thatit is not always possible (nor desirable) to separate women’s experience o armed violence rom other ormso violence, such as physical assault and sexual abuse – both in times o armed conict and in the home. Thepaper will also briey describe some o the interventions aimed at addressing this issue, ranging rom UNresolutions to local community based programmes.
Men as victims and perpetrators
Across cultures, most acts o violence, including frearm-related violence, are overwhelmingly perpetrated by men and boys and most victims o 
frearm-related violence are also men and boys.
 Globally, data rom situations o war and peace show that over 90 percent o frearm-related homicides occur among men.
Most frearms are owned by males–whether in state structures such as the police or military, as part o non-state armed groups, gangs and
militias, or leisure or sporting activities such as hunting, or or sel-deence in the home.In countries at ‘peace’ where guns are widely available, they are used mostly by men, to commit various types o violence, such as murder,
suicide, robbery and assault, and in gang warare.The National Injury Mortality Surveillance System (NIMSS) shows that in South Arica
:Majority o frearm homicide victims are men.
Between 80 to 87 percent o all victims are men, and 13 to 20 percent women.
For every emale death where a frearm is used, between 7 and 8.5 male deaths are reported.
The majority o women killed are known to their assailants, while men may equally be killed by strangers.
A similar pattern emerges across Arica, with males being our to ten times more  likely than emales to be murdered.
In countries emerging rom war and those with high levels o urban armed violence, ‘young men may use guns as part o a rite o passage romboyhood into manhood.’
In addition positive associations between guns and manhood can occur in wars o liberation where their use is valuedand encouraged, as seen in the symbolic value o the AK-47 in liberation wars across the continent.
1 Written by: Adèle Kirsten, Independent Researcher, South Arica. This paper draws primarily on three sources: WHO Report onViolence and Health in Arica (to be published in early 2008); Missing Pieces: Directions or reducing Gun Violence Through the UNprocess on Small Arms Control. Geneva: Centre or Humanitarian Dialogue 2005; The impact o armed violence on poverty and de-velopment. Bradord University, UK 2005. Editorial support:  Rob Muggah, Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development;Paul Eavis, UNDP.2  Email exchange with Lisa Vetten o Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre to End Violence Against Women, Johannesburg, March 20073  Gun Control Alliance Brieng: 54. 2006
. Guns in the home and intimate partner violence
. Johannesburg, South Arica4  Centre or Humanitarian Dialogue, 2005. p: 67.5 Centre or Humanitarian Dialogue, 2006. RevCon Policy Brie:
Hitting the Target. Men and Guns
.6 A prole o atal injuries in South Arica,  NIMSS. 2003; NIMSS. 2004.7 Mathews, S et al. 2004. ‘’Every six hours a woman is killed by her intimate partner’: A National Study o Female homicide in SouthArica.’ Johannesburg: Medical Research Council Policy Brie, pp. 1-4,8 Murray and Lopez (1996) reported a global male: emale homicide ratio o 6:2 the mid-1990s in Outwater A et al. Homicide in Dar esSalaam Region, Tanzania, 2005. (Submitted AJPH)9 Centre or Humanitarian Dialogue. 2005
Gender and Armed Violence in Arica        3 
Nature and Extent of Gender Violence in Africa
Women and girls are subjected to various orms o violence, including sexual violence, at the hands o state security orces, armed rebel groups, armed criminal gangs, and also immediate amily members andintimate partners. Studies both in Arica and other conict areas indicate that domestic abuse increasesboth during and ater conict.
This can be or a number o reasons: acceptance o violence as a meansto assert power and resolve conicts; the changing role o women in society; lawlessness and a climate o impunity; weak or absent security provision such as eective policing, and hidden male trauma.
Women, war and DDR
Women’s experience o war 
Womens experience o war is maniold – as soldiers, as victims o armed conict, as ‘war booty’, and as singleheads o households. In armed conicts, sexual violence against women is oten seen as a weapon o war,both to dishonour the woman and the enemy. For example in Sierra Leone and Uganda, rebel commandersorcibly recruited or took young women as “wives” and in Algeria women were seen as a legitimate targetand part o the ‘war booty’.
 One o the most common experiences or many women during times o armed conict is the double bindo an increase in their domestic burden coupled with an expanded economic role. For instance, in SouthernSudan, women have been orced to take on additional roles usually reserved or the men or young boyso the amily – having to sow and cultivate elds, brew and sell beer, and trade goods in the market place.Although many women maintain these extended roles once their men return rom war, they oten do notbenet rom the concomitant social and economic power that goes with this increased responsibility. Thisburden is oten carried over to the girl children in the amily resulting in among other things, interruptedschooling. These changing roles can urther exacerbate existing tensions within amilies and communities,contributing to ongoing cycles o violence.
Womens experience o demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration (DDR)
Armed conict is highly gendered and women’s experiences will have been dierent rom those o men.These dierences are central to determining women’s particular needs and priorities in the post-warperiod and can include: returning to their own community; access to essential services such as water andelectricity; attempting to restore normalcy or their children and other amily members; specic health careneeds such as treatment or sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS.
It is important to note however,that it cannot be assumed that all women will share the same concerns and priorities.It is now widely recognised that most DDR processes have ailed to sufciently address the needs andconcerns o women and girls involved in ghting orces, rendering them invisible.
For example, in SierraLeone women combatants were largely excluded rom the DDR process, ailing to benet rom a variety o programmes such as retraining and placement in reintegration programmes.
Out o the estimated 10,000women associated with the armed groups in Sierra Leone, only 4,751 o the 72,490 demobilized adultcombatants were women.
One o the contributing actors was the eligibility criteria o the programme.For example, the ‘one person, one weapon’ approach almost guaranteed the exclusion o emales, especiallygirls as many o the women and girls associated with the ghting orces reported being orced to handover their guns to their commanders. Follow up regarding reintegration support or women was alsopoor, with only an estimated ve percent o all demobilized women soldiers participating in the Stopgapprogramme.
10 See Hudson, H. 1998. “A eminist perspective on human security in Arica.
20 Institute or Security Studies, Pretoria. pp.22-98; Turshen, Meredeth and Clotilde Twagiramariya, eds. 1998.
What Women Do in Wartime: Gender and Confict in Arica
. Londonand New York: Zed Books.11  CICS, 2005.12  See IDDRS 5.10, “Women, gender and DDR” (http://www.unddr.org/iddrs/).13  UN. 2002. Women, Peace and Security. Study submitted by the Secretary-General pursuant to Resolution 1325,  cited in HDC. 2005.14  Centre or Humanitarian Dialogue, 2005.15  Mazurana, D et al. 2002, as cited in Centre or Humanitarian Dialogue, 2005. See suggested reading.16  This programme was aimed at acilitating combatants reintegration into their communities, which included some vocationaltraining.

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