Digital technological innovations make new types of responses to conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) possible, bringing with them both potential promises and pitfalls. Aiming to provide a conceptual starting point for further analysis, this article problematizes the trend towards data extraction in exchange for aid, protection and justice, and argues for the importance of complementing technology-driven approaches to the struggle against CRSV with the inclusion of strategies for user participation and investment in digital literacy as key aspects of the response. To explore how the digital turn shapes the struggle against CRSV, the article offers a three-part analytical framework. First, the article unpacks how digital technologies create corresponding “digital bodies” – comprised of images, information, biometrics and other data stored in digital space – which represent the bodies of individuals affected by sexual violence, and which interplay with the risks posed upon the physical bodies of those facing CRSV. Second, the article maps out the role of digital technologies in a cycle of intervention, including prevention of, response to, documentation of and accountability for CRSV. Third, recognizing the increasing importance of data governance to the struggle against CRSV, the article considers how divergent humanitarian, human rights and international criminal law approaches to data may create different pathways for CRSV data. This could also give rise to new tensions in how international actors approach CRSV.
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