Books

Violating Peace: Sex, Aid & Peacekeeping

violating peace: sex, aid & peacekeeping book cover
2020, Cornell University Press

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.

Praise for Violating Peace

"Violating Peace is a richly detailed and fascinating read full of hard truths about the nature of peacekeeping and peacebuilding. An absolute must-read for scholars, practitioners and policymakers, this book will be central to debates about sexual exploitation and abuse—and how to prevent it—for years to come."

Dara Kay Cohen, Harvard Kennedy School, author of Rape During Civil War

"Westendorf tackles an important subject in the world of peace operations and has managed to identify a missing angle in the growing literature about sexual exploitation and abuse. Her insightful book makes an important intellectual and practical contribution."

Paul D. Williams, George Washington University, author of Fighting for Peace in Somalia.

"A UN Secretary-General defines sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers as 'a cancer on our system.' Westendorf probes further—Has it spread? Is it fatal?—and offers a holistic treatment plan to encourage and inspire all who believe that UN peacekeeping is well worth saving."

Paula Donovan - Co-Director, Code Blue Campaign.

Why Peace Processes Fail: Negotiating Insecurity After Civil War

2015, Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers

Why do so many post–civil war societies continue to be characterized by widespread violence and political instability? Or, more succinctly, why do peace processes so often fail to consolidate peace? Addressing this question, Jasmine-Kim Westendorf explores how the international community engages in resolving civil wars—and clarifies why, despite the best of intentions and the investment of significant resources, external actors fail in their reconstruction efforts and even contribute to perpetuating the very conditions of insecurity and conflict that they are trying to alleviate.

Why Peace Processes Fail book cover

Praise for Why Peace Processes Fail

"Violating Peace is a richly detailed and fascinating read full of hard truths about the nature of peacekeeping and peacebuilding. An absolute must-read for scholars, practitioners and policymakers, this book will be central to debates about sexual exploitation and abuse—and how to prevent it—for years to come."

Dara Kay Cohen, Harvard Kennedy School, author of Rape During Civil War

"Westendorf tackles an important subject in the world of peace operations and has managed to identify a missing angle in the growing literature about sexual exploitation and abuse. Her insightful book makes an important intellectual and practical contribution."

Paul D. Williams, George Washington University, author of Fighting for Peace in Somalia.

"A UN Secretary-General defines sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers as 'a cancer on our system.' Westendorf probes further—Has it spread? Is it fatal?—and offers a holistic treatment plan to encourage and inspire all who believe that UN peacekeeping is well worth saving."

Paula Donovan - Co-Director, Code Blue Campaign.