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Rape as Social Policy


Sexual violence as social policy


Governmental actions, laws, and policies encouraging or overlooking rape have a direct and deleterious impact on the well-being of citizens, especially those of less powerful social groups.


No government today boasts of rape as official policy; in fact, all states criminalize it.

However, rape has been and continues to be a tactic of social policy during conflicts ranging from genocide and civil war to counterinsurgency operations against ideological or identity-based resistance movements. During armed conflict, state agents and their affiliates, not just rebels, are likely to be among rape’s perpetrators. Moreover, rape has served as a political weapon not only in war but also in the absence of armed conflict. Even civilian-perpetrated rape in peacetime can be social policy when there is evidence that state institutions demonstrate a consistent bias in favor of the rapist. In a just polity, the state, acting on behalf...


  • Sexual Violence
  • Niger Delta
  • Rape Myth
  • Khmer Rouge
  • Religious Minority

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Correspondence to Lisa Sharlach .

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© 2016 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

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Sharlach, L. (2016). Rape as Social Policy. In: Farazmand, A. (eds) Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance. Springer, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-31816-5

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