Sex, Aid, and Peacekeeping
Jasmine-Kim Westendorf's discomforting book investigates sexual misconduct by military peacekeepers and abuses perpetrated by civilian peacekeepers and non-UN civilian interveners. Based on extensive field research in Bosnia, Timor-Leste, and with the UN and humanitarian communities, Violating Peace uncovers a brutal truth about peacebuilding as Westendorf investigates how such behaviors affect the capacity of the international community to achieve its goals related to stability and peacebuilding, and its legitimacy in the eyes of local and global populations.
As Violating Peace shows, when interveners perpetrate sexual exploitation and abuse, they undermine the operational capacity of the international community to effectively build peace after civil wars and to alleviate human suffering in crises. Furthermore, sexual misconduct by interveners poses a significant risk to the perceived legitimacy of the multilateral peacekeeping project, and the UN more generally, with ramifications for the nature and dynamics of UN in future peace operations.
Westendorf illustrates how sexual exploitation and abuse relates to other challenges facing UN peacekeeping, and shows how such misconduct is deeply linked to the broader cultures and structures within which peacekeepers work, and which shape their perceptions of and interactions with local communities. Effectively preventing such behaviors is crucial to global peace, order, and justice. Violating Peace thus identifies how policies might be improved in the future, based on an account of why they have failed to date.