War Violence Exposure, Reintegration Experiences and Intimate Partner Violence Among a Sample of War-Affected Females in Sierra Leone

Binta Alleyne-Green, Alex Kulick, Sara Matsuzaka, Theresa S. Betancourt - Global Social Welfare


Although international attention has focused mostly on boys as child soldiers and youth affected by armed conflict, girls account for more than 40 % of this population globally. Primarily recruited and abducted into armed conflict to serve as “wives” and sexual slaves for commanders and other soldiers, girls experienced high rates of rape and sexual abuse. Using data from a longitudinal study conducted in collaboration with a major international Non-Government Organization (NGO) in Sierra Leone, this study examined the contributions of potentially stigmatizing war violence exposures and more recent post-conflict reintegration experiences to IPV. Results indicate the various aspects of wartime violence, this sample of female youth showed the highest rates of ambient wartime violence, victimization, and sexual assault. However, this sample also showed a non-trivial proportion of perpetrating wartime violence. Overall, this sample reported middling levels of community reintegration, and similar average rates of family reintegration. This study indicates a need for war-affected females to have greater access to resources that can empower them post-conflict.