Defining the ‘Sexual’ in Sexual Violence – a guest post by Ruby Mae Axelson, Maria Carolina Espitia Becerra and Veena Suresh

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While significant advances have been made in international criminal law (‘ICL’) towards accountability for sexual violence, if we are to do better at addressing this ongoing human rights crisis we must focus our attention on some of the most critical questions about the nature of sexual violence: what makes acts sexual in nature; what makes violence sexual; and when does that violence amount to core international crimes. Understanding what constitutes sexual violence is crucial if we are to recognise and respond to the reality of what survivor’s experience, and ultimately dismantle the underlying systems of discrimination and patriarchal oppression that enable sexual violence to occur. 

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