CHRGJ is very pleased to host a private discussion with our Fall 2013 Hauser Scholar, Aisling Swaine. Aisling will present a draft paper she has been working on during her time at the CHRGJ with a view to eliciting commentary and discussion on its focus on content.  A draft of her paper will be circulated prior to the event to encourage feedback from invitees. This event is by invitation only. If interested, please contact  Audrey Watne at


This study gets to the heart of examining what counts as conflict-related gender violence under international law and queries whether the polarity of the public-private serves to make invisible forms of violence that do not fit into either strictly private or the strictly public/political categories.  Using empirical research from case studies in Liberia, Northern Ireland and Timor-Leste, this study uses variations theory to specifically explore and explain variance beyond strategic sexualized violence employed in some conflicts, to analyze the ways that private individualistic violence is influenced by conflict across the three case studies.   Proposing a set variables (and their intersection) as possible determinants of wide-ranging forms of violence, the study proposes that on a continuum of ‘political public violence’ to ‘endemic private violence’, there are forms of violence that may sit somewhere ‘in-between’.   The analysis queries where this ‘in-between’ violence should fit in the thresholds provided by law and what consideration is or should be given to the political and private violence nexus that the research demonstrates. The study contributes to and encourages a re-assessment of what is currently considered to constitute the primary forms of violence that women experience during conflict, and demonstrates a wider variation to violence than is currently captured under the strategic sexual violence banner regulated under international law.

About our speaker:

Aisling Swaine completed her doctorate at the Transitional Justice Institute, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland where she is also currently a Visiting Fellow.   Aisling’s research explores violence against women related to conflict, exploring connections between the peak in violence that women experience in conflict and the wider spectrum of violence that women experience before and after conflict, with a focus on understanding international legal approaches to gendered violence within post-conflict transition and transitional justice.

Previously, Aisling spent over seven years working full-time in conflict-affected and fragile states (Kosovo, Burundi, Timor-Leste and Darfur, Sudan) for international NGOs and the United Nations, and an additional seven years as an independent consultant and has spent time in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and South Africa in this regard.

Aisling has authored several academic and policy publications on issues relating to gender violence, women, peace and security, and gender and humanitarian action.  Aisling continues to consult globally to the United Nations, international donors and NGOs and is also appointed as a Senior Gender Adviser on the United Nations IASC Gender Capacity Roster.

Aisling will join The George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs as Associate Professor of Practice on Women, Security and Development in January 2014.



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