Wartime sexual violence:
A global problem

Armies, rebel groups and terrorist organisations worldwide use rape as a tactic of warfare. Large-scale sexual violence has devastating consequences for millions of individuals and their communities.

Sexual violence is a feature in armed conflicts around the world. Rape, sexual slavery and other forms are used as a tactic of warfare, but it is not inevitable.

While rape and sexual violence have been used as a weapon of war for a long time, the crimes have been prosecuted only in recent years. Today, acts of sexual violence are  crimes both in times of war and peace.

Wartime sexual violence takes many different forms and is used against women and girls, but also against men and boys by armed forces, rebel groups and terrorist organisations.

Throughout history, rape has been used as a weapon of war on all continents. The problem is not limited to a certain time or region but has been employed in countries such as Bangladesh, North Korea, the Philippines, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri-Lanka, Uganda, Vietnam and the former Yugoslavia. Sexual violence was also widespread during World War II in different parts of Europe and Asia.

The use of rape as a weapon of war has long-term consequences for victims and their societies. Large-scale sexual violence also threatens international peace and security.