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Shaming Women to Shame Men: A Case Study of the Houthis and the Relationship Between Honor Culture in Yemen and the Use of Sexual Violence in the Yemeni Civil War

"The factors that influence an armed group’s use of sexual violence against women during times of conflict is a much studied area due to the prevalence of the phenomenon, and the significant implications it has for human rights. Studies on the subject have generally contended that cultural attributes and practices present during peacetime play a significant role in determining whether or not an armed group will incorporate sexual violence as a part of their strategy. A relatively under researched cultural practice that could influence the use of conflict related sexual violence (CRSV) is the presence of and importance of honor culture in a society experiencing conflict. This article seeks to expand on the understanding of its influence by analyzing the relationship between honor culture in a society and how its characteristics influence the groups operating within it to use sexual violence against women as part of their strategy. It uses examples of female victims of CRSV carried out by the Houthis in Yemen. It concludes that the honor culture of the society the group operates within influenced them to use more CRSV. This understanding has significant implications for policymakers and academics in predicting the severity of sexual violence that might occur in a given conflict happening in an honor based culture. "