Intimate partner violence, female employment, and male backlash in Rwanda

Kade Finnoff


Patterns of gendered violence during civil conflict are among the least well-understood aspects of civil war, and even greater gaps in our understanding exist regarding the long-term patterns of gendered power and violence in countries affected by war. This article examines the prevalence and correlates of intimate partner violence, based on household-level data from the Demographic and Health Survey conducted in Rwanda in 2005. Three results stand out. First, there are significant differences in the prevalence of three different types of gendered violence: physical, emotional and sexual violence. Second, women who are employed but whose husbands are not experience more sexual violence, not less, as would be expected in conventional household bargaining models. This can be interpreted as reflecting 'male backlash' as gender norms are destabilized. Finally, there is a strong inter-district correlation between the post-conflict prevalence of sexual violence and the intensity of political violence during the genocide.


Genocide; gender; women; employment

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