Sexu­al­ized Vi­ol­ence

Sexualised violence is usually a part of the reality of crises and armed conflicts as well as in refugee and forced displacement situations. Sexualised violence as understood by international criminal law covers rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced sterilisation and other forms of sexual violence of comparable gravity. All are deemed crimes against humanity.

A threat to world peace and in­ter­na­tional se­cur­ity:

en Sexu­al­is­ierte Ge­walt: Fig­uren

At least 1 in 5 refugee women in complex humanitarian situations have experienced sexual violence. x


[Translate to English:] Die Folgen sexualisierter Gewalt

  • Survivors of sexualised violence often experience psychological, mental and physical consequences.
  • Many are also marginalised, discriminated against and stigmatised by their social and societal environments.
  • Experiencing sexualised violence can also have a traumatising impact on the environment of those affected, for example across generations.
  • Sexualised violence can destroy social bonds and prevent active participation in social, economic and political processes.

In 2008, the United Nations Security Council therefore stated that sexualised violence not only "aggravates warlike conflicts" but also "complicates the peace process" post-war and therefore poses a threat to world peace and international security. 

Meas­ures for pro­tec­tion and pre­ven­tion

Survivors of sexualised violence need protection and support. Specific measures to protect against and prevent sexualised and gender-specific violence are therefore essential for overcoming it worldwide. Such measures are particularly relevant to refugees, reception centres and in contexts of (armed) conflict.

Survivor needs and requirements must take top priority and include appropriate medical treatment, psychosocial support and legal advice. For example, UNSCR Resolution 2467 (2019) calls for a "survivor-centred approach" that takes greater account of the specific needs of survivors, including men and boys, and mothers with children born from rape.

Info: Impunity is widespread in cases of sexualised violence, including in conflict contexts. Prosecuting perpetrators is essential for survivors, enables societies to come to terms with the past and, last but not least, it serves justice.

Op­por­tun­ity - Re­duc­tion of the un­equal bal­ance of power

Sexualised and gender-based violence has its basis in discriminatory gender stereotypes and their multiple, complex and interwoven effects: 

  • images of masculinity that promote violence
  • concepts of femininity reduced to sexuality or wife and mother roles
  • female economic dependency
  • traditional role models
  • social acceptance of gender-specific violence
  • no or only few opportunities to prosecute such acts, and prejudice against people with diverse sexual orientations and non-binary gender identities

To prevent gender-specific and sexualised violence in the long run, political action needs to focus on breaking down the unequal balance of power and the associated understanding of roles. 

Info: In some armed conflicts, sexualised and gender-specific violence is systematically deployed as a means of war, specifically intended to demonstrate power, demoralise, traumatise and degrade.

  • This form is intended to specifically demonstrate power, demoralise, traumatise and degrade.
  • International criminal law therefore classifies and sanctions systematic sexualised and gender-specific violence as war crimes.
  • Conflict-related sexualised violence can also be a consequence of dysfunctional military organisation characterised, for example, by a lack of leadership and rules of conduct, forced recruitment and destructive group dynamics.


  1. Source: UN Security Council (2019). Report of the Secretary-General on women peace and security (S/2019/800), Para. 42.