Violence experienced by women and girls during armed conflict, ranging from physical, sexual to psychological violence perpetrated by both state and non-state actors including murder, unlawful killings, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, abductions, maiming and mutilation, forced recruitment of women combatants, rape, sexual slavery, sexual exploitation, involuntary disappearance, arbitrary detention, forced marriage, forced prostitution, forced abortion, forced pregnancy and forced sterilisation.

Additional notes and information

Sexual violence has been used during armed conflict for many different reasons, including as a form of torture, to inflict injury, to extract information, to degrade and intimidate, and to destroy communities. Rape of women has been used to humiliate opponents, to drive communities and groups off land and to wilfully spread HIV. Women have been forced to perform sexual and domestic slave labour. Women have also been abducted and then forced to serve as ‘wives’ to reward fighters.


United Nations (2006). In-Depth Study on All Forms of Violence against Women. Report of the Secretary-General. UN Document A/61/122/Add.1.