Cote d'ivoire Gender-Based Vilolence Conflict and The Political Transition

Armed conflicts are not indifferent to male and female gender considerations. The enlistment of fighters; the armed groups’ composition; the repertory of perpetrated violence; the targeted populations; the individual, collective and strategic choices taken in wars; and the roles taken by or assigned to men and women during time of hostility are aspects of armed conflicts that are strongly linked to a gender perspective. Therefore, peace negotiations and conflict resolution should allow for gender considerations.

The successive phases of violence that have marked the last ten years of Côte d’Ivoire’s history are not foreign to this dynamic either. Firstly, although the civil population at large was the main target of conflict factions (often because of presumed ethnic, national, religious or political affiliation), the perpetrated exactions frequently affected women, men, girls, and boys in different ways. Certain brutalities were clearly gender-based.

On the one hand, men were particularly affected by lethal violence, arbitrary detention, and torture. “We are coming for the men,” could sometimes be heard during an incursion by armed men. Nonetheless, sexual violation against men is rarely talked about, which has left male victims without specific attention. On the other hand, women particularly suffered from violence in CI, either because they were its direct victims, or because they endured its consequences. Not only were they not spared from lethal violence (murder, forced disappearance), torture, and arbitrary detention, but they were also subjected to specific violence, such as sexual violence. Moreover, they suffered from the consequences of violence against their relatives and their community: widowhood (and its often harmful social consequences), internal displacement or having to flee to another country, economic losses, sole responsibility for the welfare and security of their family, the loss of a child, etc. It is necessary to add that in the majority of armed conflicts, CI not being an exception, the boundaries between political and domestic violence, public and private violence, and violence in and outside combat are easily blurred. It is often difficult to determine the impact of an armed conflict on domestic and community violence. Likewise, it is important to question the influence a patriarchal culture may have on the perpetrated atrocities.

Secondly, the forms of violence and how women and men are implicated have often been led by their traditionally assigned gender roles. Conflicts change relationships between women and men. These relationships have created and continue to create tensions. Notably, in conflict situations, the multiple roles assumed by women do not or no longer comply with the conventional social constructions of gender. Women are not only victims. They are also combatants and actively participate in hostilities. When they do not take up arms, they can maintain the conflict by encouraging men to take arms and fight. In the chaos of a conflict, women often become the corner stones of communities and take care of their families’ survival. They frequently take initiatives to put an end to the conflict and to reduce its consequences.

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Cote d'ivoire Gender-Based Vilolence Conflict and The Political Transition
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