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Having a global overview of the use of sexual violence in conflict and its evolution in time and geography

Conflict-related sexual violence raises several major issues such as the lack of reliable data on its extent, its consequences and the number of victims concerned at the global level.

We Are NOT Weapons of War plans

  1. The creation of the first global observatory on sexual violence linked to conflicts and crisis zones

  2. A research center

Unfortunately, these two projects are not currently funded and WWoW is actively seeking sponsors to develop these elements.

The purpose of the World Observatory on Sexual Violence (WOSV) is to regroup different mechanisms within a model structure and to bring together a community of players working on these issues (investigators, lawyers, judges, prosecutors, associations, victims, doctors, historians, researchers, etc.). It will take the form of a public platform, designed to provide all existing information and literature on sexual violence in conflict.

It will be linked, on the one hand, to BackUp and its BackOffice and, on the other hand, to the creation of a hotline enabling anyone to contact the observatory to benefit from support in terms of expertise, resources, etc. The idea is to encourage peer-to-peer exchanges in an extremely easy and pragmatic way.

The only one of its kind, this tool aims to become an exhaustive database for war rape documentation, listing :

  • (Inter)national legal texts and case law

  • NGO and IO reports

  • Thematic analyses and reports

  • Up-to-date directories of players involved in war rape issues

  • Survivors' testimonies

  • Mapping and computer graphics

  • Films, documentaries and videos

  • Country files


The Observatory will cover not only the concept of war rape, but also all the issues associated with this phenomenon, including trauma, medical, psychiatric, psychological and societal questions, and will take a macro-approach to questions of security force reform, the introduction of innovative justice processes, transitional justice and restorative justice, good governance, the rule of law, etc. 


It will be public and accessible to all: professionals (legal/medical), journalists, academics, students and individuals. The Observatory should enable civil society to obtain information on the subject, as well as being a reference tool for professionals. 


Connected to the Back Up platform hotline, professionals can put their questions directly to a team of specialist lawyers.


The Observatory will take a two-pronged approach:

  • First level target = general public, with a popularisation of legal concepts, the development of info graphics, testimonies of victims and professional actors, videos and press articles as well as country files.

  • Second target level = researchers, professionals, students, NGOs, governments, etc., with an exhaustive legal database, national and international case law, contributions and articles, published theses and research papers. It will be an advanced research tool for all kinds of researchers. Eventually, this section will also become a centre where researchers can contribute in a participative and collaborative manner.

The WOSV also aims to conduct the first global study on sexual violence in conflicts and crisis zones, a global study that is urgently needed.

Today, no quantitative study has been carried out and there is no data on war rape as a global phenomenon.

During conflicts and other humanitarian emergencies - such as natural disasters or migration routes - the human costs of loss of life, injury, family separation and disappearances are destructive for society. But another underestimated cost is that of sexual violence, which generally increases in these fragile environments. This is the case everywhere in the world and throughout history.

Sexual violence is a destructive phenomenon with devastating consequences for victims, families, communities and entire countries. In 2017, sexual violence was prevalent in at least 19 conflicts, including those in Afghanistan, Colombia, the DRC, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, South Sudan and Syria, leaving deep physical, psychological, moral and social wounds on victims and societies. By 2023, the number of countries will have risen to include Ukraine and Sudan.

Once a taboo subject kept in the shadows, sexual violence is occupying an increasingly important place on the world's political and humanitarian agenda. International organisations, governments, researchers, NGOs, foundations, and the private sector are devoting more and more resources to the fight against this type of violence.

Nonetheless, heightened awareness and increased resources do not necessarily equate to an enhanced ability to eradicate sexual violence in conflict or to provide adequate support for survivors who have endured it. Moreover, the increase is not solely a result of the scale of the problem or the harm it inflicts upon individuals and communities

WWoW believes that an essential step is often forgotten: to solve a problem, you must first understand it.

Before effective global efforts can be undertaken to prevent sexual violence in conflict, adequately care for survivors, and ensure accountability, it is imperative that researchers and humanitarian aid practitioners have access to a comprehensive and precise understanding of the extent of this issue.

The first study to be carried out by the observatory and its associated research centre should be a global study on the figures for war rape, the profile of its perpetrators, the modus operandi, the scale of the phenomenon, etc.

The Research Center : 

Its purpose is to carry out precise and necessary studies on sexual violence in conflicts. The centre will host and conduct global surveys and analyses on specific thematic issues, such as the economic impact of wartime rape. The centre will be made up of a network of expert professionals and will enable WWoW to provide expertise to various organisations. The aim is also for it to become a training institute which organises conferences, seminars and meetings within the entire professional community.

Intended impact : 

  • A unique public tool entirely dedicated to conflict-related sexual violence. It will be accessible to all, on the Internet and on any digital medium, in Spanish, English, French and Arabic.

  • An international centre of expertise and training on the issue of war rape, from which governments, NGOs and international organisations can request expertise (based on a solid network of professionals).

  • A collaborative network of experts, the only one of its kind in the world, will be set up to improve the coordination of exchanges and the sharing of knowledge, as well as the effectiveness of actions and responses to needs.

  • The Observatory will be the global reference for resources on sexual violence in conflict for institutions, civil society and the general public.

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