Writers

Lauren Wolfe

Lauren Wolfe

Director

Lauren Wolfe is an award-winning journalist who has written for publications from The Atlantic to The New York Times. She is also a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine and on the advisory committee of the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict.

Previously, she was the senior editor of the Committee to Protect Journalists, where she broke ground on the issue of journalists and sexualized violence. She studied at Wesleyan University and Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, and is the recipient of the 2012 Frank Ochberg Award for Media and Trauma Study and four Society of Professional Journalists awards. In 2013, Foreign Policy named her one of its “FP Twitterati 100,” and Action on Armed Violence listed her as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Journalists Covering Armed Violence.” Find her at laurenmwolfe.com and on Twitter at @Wolfe321.

Articles

Can media keep violence against women in focus for at least #16Days?

Can media keep violence against women in focus for at least #16Days?

By — November 24, 2014
With the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence starting tomorrow, November 25, I thought I’d share some of my favorite recent reads on gender-based violence, whether close to home or far afield. more »
Re-conceiving war: Stopping a cycle of violence depends on how we prioritize it

Re-conceiving war: Stopping a cycle of violence depends on how we prioritize it

By — September 3, 2014
A young woman seems to have attached herself to me one day at Zaatari, a refugee camp holding at least 120,000 Syrians in the middle of the Jordanian desert. Her name is Abeer and she is the less obviously beautiful, older sister to a 16-year-old girl who has been married off to a much-older Libyan food distributor. He gave the girl a watch, perfume, and water when they met. more »
The Index: The Cost of Violence Against Women

The Index: The Cost of Violence Against Women

By — August 21, 2014
Cost of sexualized and domestic violence in the U.S. estimated per year in 2003, in billions: 5.8 ... Overall cost of health care in this estimate, in billions: 4.1 ... Cost of rape in this estimate, in millions: 319 ... more »
Why soldiers rape — and when they don’t — in diagrams

Why soldiers rape — and when they don’t — in diagrams

By — July 25, 2014
Men came while she was working in her field. Twice. Like so many women I met a few months ago in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the woman telling her story explained how men wearing uniforms appeared as she worked her land and dragged her to a tree and tied her to it, raping her, cutting her, terrifying her. They wanted her money and they wanted her gone from her field. more »
Do we really need Angelina Jolie?

Do we really need Angelina Jolie?

By — June 11, 2014
Everyone keeps asking me if we need Angelina Jolie. Leading up to the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which Jolie and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague are chairing in London this week, they want to know whether she is useful to this cause. I’ve been thinking a lot about this and have been searching for an answer. And I think I’ve found it. more »
The Index: Justice for Rape in War

The Index: Justice for Rape in War

By — May 2, 2014
Year in which General Andrew Jackson is credited with coining the phrase “booty and beauty” to make clear what kind of “spoils…to the victor go”: 1812 ... Year in which an international tribunal established that sexualized violence is a crime against humanity and potentially an act of genocide: 1995 ... more »
#CongoWomenSpeak: Photos from the ground in DRC

#CongoWomenSpeak: Photos from the ground in DRC

By — March 12, 2014
The war in Congo is like a snake. Sometimes it slithers by and you see it and feel terror; other times, it hides in the trees, waiting. Everywhere I traveled in the country with the Nobel Women’s Initiative in February, I felt that ever-present fear—and exhaustion from so many years of being either attacked or on the lookout. more »
Portraits of three women in Congo: Their lives, their rapes, their recovery

Portraits of three women in Congo: Their lives, their rapes, their recovery

By — March 6, 2014
There were so very many stories. Stories of women physically torn apart, leaving stains of urine on chairs from fistula they suffered from violent rape. Stories about sexual enslavement that left teenage girls hysterically crying and unable to finish speaking. Stories of erasure—of women who had been left by their husbands and shunned by their own children because men had raped them. more »
#CongoWomenSpeak report: Faces of genocide

#CongoWomenSpeak report: Faces of genocide

By — February 19, 2014
These are some of the faces of the 800,000 people killed in just 100 days in 1994 in Rwanda. The photos are hanging in Kigali’s genocide museum—a terrifying place that actually contains the remains of some 249,000 people murdered. more »
#CongoWomenSpeak report: The ghost in Congo’s war machine

#CongoWomenSpeak report: The ghost in Congo’s war machine

By — February 18, 2014
I’ve been reading King Leopold’s Ghost, by Adam Hochschild, which tells the utterly brutal colonial history of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Early on in the book, the author laments the lack of African voices on record that tell the history of the country. Instead it is a history told by the conquerors, as all history generally is. There is no shortage of evidence, however, that the Europeans who colonized the area inflicted terrors on black men and women that are stomach-sickening. more »
Never-ending trauma: In DRC, rape survivors are punished with more rape

Never-ending trauma: In DRC, rape survivors are punished with more rape

By — January 29, 2014
The horrors are so terrible that they sound made up but—somehow—they aren’t. A woman raped in front of her husband. In front of her parents-in-law. Forced to watch her child killed and then raped. Forced to have sex with her son in front of militants. Raped when nine months’ pregnant. more »
What we know about sexualized violence in Syria (video)

What we know about sexualized violence in Syria (video)

By — January 20, 2014
While the Geneva II talks about peace in Syria gear up to begin on January 22, I thought I’d put our latest numbers and information on sexualized violence in Syria up here for you to see. I recently laid out what we know about this at a talk at the Heirich Böll Foundation in Berlin, embedded below. more »
‘How to rape a woman’: Searching for porn, ending up here

‘How to rape a woman’: Searching for porn, ending up here

By — January 8, 2014
Sometimes I look at the Google Analytics for this site. Usually while I’m doing research or working on our social media, I’ll click over to a window I have open and see who is on the site right now—what countries they’re reading from, what stories they’ve landed on, and, sometimes, what words they searched to get to our project. It’s pretty interesting overall. more »

10 ways women are criminalized for being brutalized—as seen in a single story

By — December 31, 2013
On December 30, The Wall Street Journal ran a story about Lalasa Devi, a woman in her mid-30s who is part of India’s “untouchable” cast. Devi says a man raped her one night nine months ago and that she has seen no justice since. I’ve rarely read a case that speaks as clearly as this one does to why women don’t report rape. more »
The Index: Sexualized Violence at Home

The Index: Sexualized Violence at Home

By — December 3, 2013
Percent of women worldwide who have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexualized violence in their lifetime: 35. Perpetrators of rape of women since age 18 that are men (as a percent): 100 more »
What’s going on in Syria is about a lot more than chemical weapons

What’s going on in Syria is about a lot more than chemical weapons

By — October 26, 2013
We're off talk of "intervention" in Syria, and on to trying to get everyone to the negotiating table. It's not going very well. more »
The Index: Rape in War

The Index: Rape in War

By — October 18, 2013
Number of countries that signed the UK and UN’s Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict: 128. Countries that refused to sign the declaration at the UNGA on September 24: 80... more »
Where is ‘red line’ on rape in war?

Where is ‘red line’ on rape in war?

By — September 17, 2013
I remember a chalk line drawn on blacktop by a group of kids at recess when I was young. The message was clear: This is the line you do not cross. If you stepped over it, you would face the wrath of those kids in whatever game we were playing. Now turn that line crimson and color it toxic. This is the adult version of "do not cross." more »
Sick, injured, untreated: Syrians suffer fallout of assault on medical care

Sick, injured, untreated: Syrians suffer fallout of assault on medical care

By — September 16, 2013
When I was at the Syrian border in Turkey in July, I went to a public park where I heard 4,000 refugees were living. I was told it was not a UN-supported camp, that these Syrians had come over the border because they’d heard there was going to be a camp nicer than the UN one in Kilis, where most people are stuck in tents, rather than the box-like structures known as “caravans.” more »
Forgotten girls: How one child in Yemen is drawing attention to underage marriage

Forgotten girls: How one child in Yemen is drawing attention to underage marriage

By — August 1, 2013
Eight million people and counting have watched a video featuring an 11-year-old Yemeni girl named Nada al-Ahdal. From what looks like the seat of a car, she talks about why she left home because, she says, her parents tried to marry her off. Al-Ahdal talks about the “innocence of children” and the consequences—including suicide—of being force-married to an older man at such a young age. more »

Creating heaven ‘in a place called hell’: DRC activist responds to US tabloid

By — July 25, 2013
Sometimes I read something that makes the movement of the world, the very air in the room, freeze to a stop. That’s what happened recently when I read a letter written by an activist in the Democratic Republic of Congo named Neema Namadamu. I read it once, then I read it again. Instead of describing why it had such a profound effect on me, I’m pasting it in full below. more »
Hope for a better life leads to torture for Ethiopians

Hope for a better life leads to torture for Ethiopians

By — July 19, 2013
When there’s not an acute famine in the Horn of Africa, the media tends to leave the misery in that part of the world unreported. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t heard much about Ethiopia specifically in awhile, minus a few international journalist friends mentioning that there is a migration problem for women who are seeking better lives in the Arab peninsula. As of this morning though, I can’t pretend to ignore what’s going on in the region any longer. more »
Photos from a border life: Syrian refugees live in limbo in southern Turkey

Photos from a border life: Syrian refugees live in limbo in southern Turkey

By — July 9, 2013
I spent much of June in Turkey, ostensibly. But in the south, at the Syrian border, where Arabic is the language of choice, women wear traditional Syrian hijabs, and families live in the strange half-life of an open-ended nightmare of exile, I was, in some ways, in Syria. more »
‘Take your portion’: A victim speaks out about rape in Syria

‘Take your portion’: A victim speaks out about rape in Syria

By — June 18, 2013
Alma Abdulrahman is lying gaunt and unable to move anything below her diaphragm in a hospital bed in Amman. Some bedsores have become so deep she’s having surgery tomorrow. Screws hold together her upper vertebrae, and cigarette burns pock her right shoulder. Her voice fades in and out, hoarse from either weakness or morphine. more »
Tracking a rumor: Is there a sugar factory in Syria being used as a rape house?

Tracking a rumor: Is there a sugar factory in Syria being used as a rape house?

By — May 24, 2013
We were seated on a scratchy nylon mat with “UNHCR” written all over it. Children with the same beautiful, olive-complexioned face stared big-eyed at me from every corner of the furniture-less room, and their mother cried as she talked about the many massacres her family had fled in Homs five months previously. more »
The legacy of silence: Why we ignore the rape of women from Guatemala to Syria

The legacy of silence: Why we ignore the rape of women from Guatemala to Syria

By — May 13, 2013
Just before 2 a.m. and nearly half a world away, I watched a guilty verdict from Guatemala scroll by tweet by tweet on my phone. Former President Efrain Rios Montt was convicted on May 10 of genocide and crimes against humanity and given 80 years in prison. As the news came through, I felt a satisfied chill—17 years after the murder of 200,000 Guatemalans and the rape of 100,000 women, mostly Mayans, justice has actually come in our lifetime. more »
Syria has a massive rape crisis

Syria has a massive rape crisis

By — April 3, 2013
All across the war-torn country, regime soldiers are said to be sexually violating women and men from the opposition, destroying families and, in some cases, claiming lives. more »

Un-silencing the crime of sexualized violence against journalists

By — March 22, 2013
In June 2011, I published a report at the Committee to Protect Journalists called “The Silencing Crime” about sexualized violence and journalists. I called it that because rape and other forms of sexualized assault are used constantly around the world to frighten women journalists into silence, and unfortunately, the method is effective, my research found. more »

Gloria Steinem challenges BBC presenter on violence against women

By — March 7, 2013
On Tuesday, Gloria Steinem, who originated WMC’s Women Under Siege, spoke to BBC “Hardtalk” presenter Stephen Sackur about the women’s movement. But I wanted to do more than point you to the video (which you can watch here) and highlight something I found particularly interesting about their chat. more »
Salacious, voyeuristic, insensitive: How the media harms one survivor of rape

Salacious, voyeuristic, insensitive: How the media harms one survivor of rape

By — February 27, 2013
Context. It’s a simple word that requires its own set of words to make clear: Context, according to Merriam-Webster, contains “the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning.” Everything has it. But that doesn’t mean it’s in great supply, whether in how we speak about the world or in how we are presented with the news. more »
The media and violence against women: A conversation with Maria Hinojosa

The media and violence against women: A conversation with Maria Hinojosa

By — February 14, 2013
On January 25, I moderated a panel on the media and sexualized violence as part of our symposium, “Global sexualized violence: From epidemiology to action,” with Columbia University. The panel, with journalists Helen Benedict, Maria Hinojosa, and Jenny Nordberg, was lively, to say the least, with hot debate between the audience and speakers as to what the media is doing badly and needs to do better when it comes to covering rape. more »
Why Steubenville is not Delhi: How we are failing in this country

Why Steubenville is not Delhi: How we are failing in this country

By — January 14, 2013

The father of the woman gang-raped and killed in Delhi in December has told the media that the crime against his daughter is “an awakening” for India. It certainly has been an awakening for much of the world, as I wrote in this op-ed for CNN. The local and international media have been cracking open issues from dowry-related burnings of women to street harassment, asking exactly what is wrong with men in India to have created such a culture of hate and violence against women. It is heartening to watch the introspection.

more »
Video: Tracking violence against women in Syria—CNN

Video: Tracking violence against women in Syria—CNN

By — January 11, 2013
With Syria's war taking the lives of women at an average rate of 9 percent across the country, I spoke to CNN International's Hala Gorani about the terrible price women and children are paying as noncombatants. more »

What can we do to end rape in 2013?

By — January 3, 2013

On Tuesday, I wrote a piece for CNN calling to make 2013 The Year to End Rape. I know it’s wishful—there’s a lot to try to end: global legal failings that allow rapists to commit crimes with impunity; attitudes that blame the victim, leading to suicides and honor killings; misogyny that conditions men (and women) to view women and girls as less than human, as objects to be controlled.  

more »

End culture of rape in 2013

End culture of rape in 2013

By — January 1, 2013
On December 16, a young medical student in one of India's major cities was gang-raped, her body destroyed by the bodies of the men who allegedly assaulted her and also by the rusting metal bar doctors say they used to penetrate her. The bar removed part of her intestines. The rest were removed in a hospital far from home where she struggled for her life for just a few days. more »
A garden in Afghanistan: Women, roses, and guns

A garden in Afghanistan: Women, roses, and guns

By — December 26, 2012
Sometimes an image comes across my desk that really grabs me. I was lucky enough to have this happen recently when I received a holiday card from a Belgian photographer named Wendy Marijnissen in my email. I clicked and found a strange twilight enveloping a garden of soft trees and red roses. In the middle of the picture a guard stands awkwardly with a gun. Plastic tents billow in the background. What exactly was I looking at? I asked Marijnissen to tell me more: more »
Sexualized violence in Syria: Keeping track of a crisis in motion

Sexualized violence in Syria: Keeping track of a crisis in motion

By — December 19, 2012
On a still warm day in October, I sat on a panel of mostly Syrian women at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. One woman wore a wool scarf draped around her shoulders in the black, red, and green of the Free Syrian Army. Most wore a hijab, the Islamic headscarf. Turn by turn, we described our work documenting and assisting Syrian women and children who were drawn into the ongoing Syrian conflict. more »
Eight reasons why victim-blaming needs to stop: Writers, activists, and survivors speak out

Eight reasons why victim-blaming needs to stop: Writers, activists, and survivors speak out

By — December 17, 2012
About once a day someone comes to this website by searching “Are rape victims to blame?” I hope when these visitors arrive they find some solace in the message they find here that rape victims are not culpable, ever, no, never. Unfortunately, they will also find information on how rape survivors are blamed mercilessly around the world for the violence perpetrated against them. more »
Are women being targeted in Syria?

Are women being targeted in Syria?

By — December 10, 2012
The baby's body was found near a checkpoint on the road that connects Homs with the ancient city of Palmyra, in central Syria, in January. At four months old, she was said to have been given over to a paternal uncle, dead, with bruises on her back, abdomen, and hands. more »
Revealing rape: How to illustrate a crime

Revealing rape: How to illustrate a crime

By — December 6, 2012
Women describe their rapes from behind black face scarves in videos on our site that documents sexualized violence in Syria. We have no photos of women whose faces aren’t covered. We have few photos of survivors of rape even with their faces covered. more »
Rape is shredding Syria’s social fabric

Rape is shredding Syria’s social fabric

By — December 5, 2012
A woman approached me as I was rushing toward the D.C. Metro after giving a talk on rape in Syria last month. She asked in a low voice if she could share some information. She had DVDs, she said. On them were testimonies of Syrian women who'd been raped; in particular, a mother, a daughter and a sister all in one family. more »
What the UK can do to stop sexualized violence in Syria

What the UK can do to stop sexualized violence in Syria

By — November 15, 2012
I twisted around in the passenger-side seat in a red compact to Heathrow yesterday to trade ideas with a colleague. In the back of the car was Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, the executive director of the International Civil Society Action Network. We wondered aloud whether our discussion on Syria in the last few days at Wilton Park, a stygian but elegant castle on the English South Downs, might have any real-world impact. more »
Shocking attitudes point to deep misogyny in Congo

Shocking attitudes point to deep misogyny in Congo

By — November 1, 2012
There is little violence on earth more merciless than what is happening to women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “When you talk about rape in New York or Paris, everyone can always say, ‘Yes, we have rape here too,’” Dr. Denis Mukwege, the founder of Congo’s Panzi Hospital, told Jeb Sharp, a producer at PRI’s “The World,” in 2008. more »

Rape in war: Are we getting it wrong?

By — October 10, 2012
Good news! We were wrong! Women are not being raped in terrible numbers around the world in conflict! I wish I could really say that. All day I’ve been hearing how a new report out today “upends” conventional wisdom on sexualized violence in war—that we’ve all got it wrong, that the media is misleading the world into thinking all conflicts are laden with rape, that statistics have been badly skewed in ways that make the problem seem worse than it is. more »
From the ground zero of rape in conflict: An interview with Dr. Denis Mukwege

From the ground zero of rape in conflict: An interview with Dr. Denis Mukwege

By — September 27, 2012
I’ve found that there are few men who want to sit in a room and talk about how to stop rape. Few show up at panel discussions, few show up in virtual social media spaces to reflect or express outrage. Rape is a woman’s problem, they tell us implicitly. more »

‘We do not need any more proof’: Leaders tell UN it’s time to act on rape in war

By — September 25, 2012
In a fluorescent-lit United Nations room full of suited bureaucrats, Nobel Prize Laureate Leymah Gbowee raised a startling point. It had been a morning of declarations condemning sexualized violence in conflict and considerations of how we can better proceed to stop it when Gbowee said: “If I asked everyone in this room to explain to us about their last sexual encounter, they would be turning pink.” more »

Ideas into action? A view from inside the UK’s new initiative to stop rape in war

By — July 25, 2012
You may have heard that the UK recently launched a new initiative aimed at preventing sexualized violence in conflict. We’ve been fortunate enough to be part of the early stages of this ambitious new project, which has invited participation from NGOs and experts around the world. more »

Our testimony to the UN today on sexualized violence in Syria

By — July 18, 2012
The UN asked me to present the first findings of a data analysis from our crowdmap of sexualized violence in Syria as the Security Council gears up to vote on international sanctions--potentially on Friday. Below is my testimony to a room that contained members of the council from France, Portugal, the European Union delegation, Egypt, Italy, and perhaps a few members from Syria (the jury's out on that). more »
The number you need to know on Syria

The number you need to know on Syria

By — July 16, 2012
I’ll start with a simple number: 20,000. Granted it’s rounded up a little—from 19,738. Rounding up works well on the page, but also belittles its subject. It gives us a solid number to latch on to, for the media to print, for the memory to hold. But 19,738 is the exact count of lives that have been lost so far in the war in Syria, according to a volunteer, nonprofit group called Syria Tracker. And when it comes to this conflict, every little number, every single life, counts. more »

The ultimate assault: Charting Syria’s use of rape to terrorize its people

By — July 11, 2012
A woman swathed in black squares her shoulders and calmly looks into a camera. She holds a Quran. Only a sliver of her face—her eyeglasses—shows. “What happened to me hasn’t happened to anyone, or if it has affected anyone else I do not know,” she says. “But I will speak and let all the people know what [Syrian leader] Bashar al-Assad and his men are doing.” Over the next four minutes, her breathing grows labored and her voice breaks as she describes how, in May 2011, five men wearing black entered her home on the outskirts of Homs and raped her. more »
Cat and mouse: Syrian activists play a dangerous game on the Web

Cat and mouse: Syrian activists play a dangerous game on the Web

By — July 5, 2012
A chat pops up. Lines start pouring in to tell me that a group of men led two young girls into a van. There is little detail after that, the chat reveals, but not before I need to ask questions I am trying not to ask. more »
CPJ: Another journalist reports sexual assault in Tahrir Square

CPJ: Another journalist reports sexual assault in Tahrir Square

By — June 26, 2012
The story sounds hideously like another—one of a chaotic, predatory attack on a woman journalist in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Clothes torn from her body, hundreds of men surging to grab her breasts and claw at her. A woman wondering, “Maybe this is how I go, how I die.” It has been almost a year and a half since CBS correspondent and CPJ board member Lara Logan endured an attack like this. Now, an independent journalist and student named Natasha Smith reports that it has happened to her. more »
‘On the Media’: Balancing advocacy and accuracy

‘On the Media’: Balancing advocacy and accuracy

By — June 2, 2012
After Sen. Joseph Lieberman published this Washington Post op-ed advocating for the U.S. to step up its efforts to topple the Syrian regime last month, Jackie Blachman-Forshay and I wrote a response. more »

Walking the tightrope that is reporting rape in Syria

By — May 29, 2012
On May 19, Sen. Joseph Lieberman wrote a piece in The Washington Post exhorting the U.S. to “step up” efforts to provide the Syrian resistance with the “means to defend themselves against Assad.” more »

We talk to the BBC about UK launch of anti-rape team for conflict zones

By — May 29, 2012
This morning brings the announcement that the UK government will be training experts (police, psychologists, doctors, lawyers, and forensic experts, according to the BBC) to deploy to conflict zones to collect evidence of sexualized violence—an initiative we can only be hopeful will do more than any government is doing now to stop the rape of women in wars. more »

One threat too many: Where do we go from here?

By — May 8, 2012
I’m sitting in Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris having just opened an email from one of Women Under Siege’s writers. She’d sent me a copy of a threat she’d received that scattered chills up my arms and down my legs. The sender said he was coming for her; he’d kill her, that “little bitch.” more »
Lost in a life outside Syria

Lost in a life outside Syria

By — April 17, 2012
I met photojournalist Matilde Gattoni very recently on Facebook, which is to say we haven’t actually met in person. Even so, she’s already made an impression on me. Her work has a way of highlighting humanity—literally in chiaroscuro but also figuratively. more »

Judgment call: Survivors of rape in Rwanda find themselves at odds with courts

By — April 9, 2012
Everyone wants justice. Don’t we? It seems easy—a crime is committed so we bring a lawsuit. Witnesses testify and justice is either served or punted over some kind of event horizon, never to be seen clearly again. more »
The cartography of suffering: Women Under Siege maps sexualized violence in Syria

The cartography of suffering: Women Under Siege maps sexualized violence in Syria

By — March 28, 2012
When we hear about conflicts in foreign countries and imagine terrible acts, our thoughts don’t turn immediately to rape. We think of bombings and refugees and government suppression. more »
Guatemala’s war may be over, but the battle continues to be fought on women’s bodies

Guatemala’s war may be over, but the battle continues to be fought on women’s bodies

By — March 9, 2012
Guatemala City—There’s a heavy green to this place, layered. Clouds weigh on the hills and seep into the trees and grass and leaves and bushes. Every clearing we pass turns to depths, and in those reaches lie the dead. more »

Secret Holocaust files may finally see the light of day

By — February 29, 2012
We know that thousands of women were raped during the Holocaust. We also know that rape was never part of any charges against anyone responsible for the era’s atrocities. In a thrilling new turn of events, files long locked away at UN headquarters in New York have revealed details of investigations into the use of rape by Nazis. Could this lead to justice for women brutalized in other wars? more »

A hacker told me to return to the kitchen; I didn’t go

By — February 26, 2012
It’s been an interesting couple of days. Gloria Steinem (our project’s founder) and I wrote an op-ed for The Guardian about what we’re calling the “cult of masculinity” and its role in rape in conflict and gang violence. The reaction to the op-ed, however, wasn’t pretty. more »

Sexual violence against women is the result of the cult of masculinity

By — February 24, 2012
Gangs of young men rape girls. They also sometimes act as pimps that seduce a girl, then subject her to gang rape or otherwise insist that she sexually service gang members. Some girls are so desperate for acceptance and so convinced by sexual abuse that they have no other value: they see this as inevitable. more »
CPJ: More discussion but few changes on sexual violence

CPJ: More discussion but few changes on sexual violence

By — February 21, 2012
When word went around that a mob had sexually assaulted CBS correspondent and CPJ board member Lara Logan, at left, in Cairo's Tahrir Square in February 2011, the media jumped on the specifics: Why was the press release about her assault so precise? more »

Where do men stand in all this?

By — February 15, 2012
Let’s blame men. Many of us do—many women and even men blame men for the mass rape of women in war. It’s easy to point our fingers and name the perpetrator. But what if we were to step back and ask how men can actually be part of the solution? It requires a couple of basic assumptions. more »

Are atrocities inevitable? A conversation with “NewsTalk” Radio Ireland

By — February 13, 2012
Click through to listen to a live interview I did with Sean Moncrieff on Radio Ireland’s “NewsTalk”—he asks solid questions about whether rape has always been used as a weapon of war, and whether men are targeted the same way. Maybe most interestingly, Moncrieff wonders: “Given that atrocities inevitably take place in conflicts, so will rape?” more »

Survivors of rape and genocide, hidden in plain sight

By — February 11, 2012
These indigenous women asked me not to show their faces. But they want their stories told. They traveled far from the Guatemalan highlands at the end of January to tell me and other journalists and activists on a delegation from the Nobel Women's Initiative about their experiences in the country's 36-year genocide and since. more »
Reckoning with a genocide in Guatemala

Reckoning with a genocide in Guatemala

By — February 10, 2012
GUATEMALA CITY — A man in a mask opens a door. The smell of rot hovers in the air and everywhere there are piles of paper -- pink, yellow, white, all a bit aged and possibly very important. When searching through the 80 million documents dumped in the archives of the Guatemalan National Police, it's never clear what will turn up. more »

Can we end rape as tool of war?

By — February 9, 2012
We first thought about starting this piece with the story of Saleha Begum, a survivor of Bangladesh's 1971 war in which, some reports say, as many as 400,000 women were raped. Begum had been tied to a banana tree and repeatedly gang raped and burned with cigarettes for months until she was shot and left for dead in a pile of women. She didn't die, though, and was able to return home, ravaged and five months pregnant. When she got home she was branded a "slut." more »
Q&A: Gloria Steinem on ending rape in war

Q&A: Gloria Steinem on ending rape in war

By — February 7, 2012
It doesn’t matter where you look; sexualized violence is intrinsic to conflict. From Darfur to Libya to Guatemala, hundreds of thousands of women are suffering the its fallout, which has torn apart their bodies, their families, and their communities. As the director of Women Under Siege, I interviewed Steinem about what needs to be done to understand and stop it. more »