11 July 2018

We need to talk about sexual violence against men

Sexual violence against men is widespread, especially in conflict and post-conflict zones, yet efforts to understand its causes and develop strategies to reduce it have been hampered by a dearth of theoretical engagement. Sexual Violence Against Men in Global Politics, a new book co-edited by the Graduate Institute’s Elisabeth Prügl and Paula Drumond, along with Marysia Zalewski and Maria Stern, sets out to tackle this by combining theorisation of sexual violence in general with empirical data from archival research and field research.

“The issue of sexual violence against men really emerged in the context of reporting from wartime scenarios, and came up as an issue at international criminal tribunals”, explains Professor Prügl. “We were lucky in that one of our PhD students, Paula Drumond, was working on the topic. Paula and I put together a workshop and felt it was necessary to write a book on the issue, approaching the topic from a specifically feminist perspective, which hadn’t been done before.”

“In my chapter, I gathered evidence from The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)”, says Paula Drumond, now an Assistant Professor at the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “What I found was that when you look closely at what was reported by victims in their testimonies, sexual violence against men was very common: in 30% of cases there were instances of sexual violence against men, but they were hidden under the debates around sexual violence against women.”

On 18 June, the Graduate Institute’s Gender Centre organised an event discussing the book’s findings and the wider issue of sexual violence against men. A short video with Elisabeth Prügl and Paula Drumond is below.