Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Olivier Bercault

Second Advisor

Jennifer M. Murphy


The Ethiopia-Tigray civil war is one of the deadliest conflicts in recent world history and quickly drew international attention for the mass reports of sexual violence, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing by federal militants. Mass rapes and sexual violence were used along ethnic lines to devastate and displace communities in Ethiopia. Despite the signing of the peace agreement in November 2022 to cease hostilities, the sexual violence has not come to an end. The violence has consequently spread to the Afar, Amhara, and Oromia regions, neighboring Tigray. The sexual violence in Ethiopia was core to the armed conflict. Nonetheless, the government’s response to the occurrences of sexual violence is deemed to be inevitable in war, an ugly part of war, an agenda against the government, dismissed as an “exaggeration.” With little effort toward reconciliation, along with Ethiopia’s deep-rooted ethnic-based federal system; the climate of the Ethiopian community has become a strife in which ethnic groups have suffered the most. Conflict-related sexual violence occurs in contemporary armed conflicts to such an extent that preventative initiatives have ignited across the globe to end sexual violence as a tactic of war. This project aims to assess the consequences of sexual violence in conflict to contribute to initiatives towards prevention. The prevention framework in this project was created throughout my travel across various regions in Ethiopia while observing the escalation of this armed conflict. The findings of this project are incorporated into a collection of stories and experiences from the voices of the impacted beyond the traditional language. The findings of this project validate that sexual violence conducted in war is deliberate and not dismissible. The evitable can always be prevented. The impacts of conflict-related sexual violence affect survivors in different ways, times, and places, and each analysis needs to consider the situational context of the conflict setting. This project uncovers the importance of storytelling and documentation in creating visibility for the problem. Understanding and awareness can serve as a pathway toward change and prevention. Furthermore, this research explores the dangerous potential for previous occurrences to continue if there are no efforts to prevent sexual violence in conflict situations.