Wartime sexual violence is rape or other forms of sexual violence committed by combatants during armed conflict, war, or military occupation often as spoils of war; but sometimes, particularly in ethnic conflict, the phenomenon has broader sociological motives. Wartime sexual violence may also include gang rape and rape with objects. It is distinguished from sexual harassment, sexual assaults, and rape committed amongst troops in military service. It also covers the situation where girls and women are forced into prostitution or sexual slavery by an occupying power. During war and armed conflict, rape is frequently used as a means of psychological warfare in order to humiliate the enemy. Wartime sexual violence may occur in a variety of situations, including institutionalized sexual slavery, wartime sexual violence associated with specific battles or massacres, and individual or isolated acts of sexual violence. Rape can also be recognised as genocide or ethnic cleansing when committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a targeted group; however, rape remains widespread in conflict zones. There are other international legal instruments to prosecute perpetrators but this has occurred as late as the 1990s. However, these legal instruments have so far only been used for international conflicts, thus putting the burden of proof in citing the international nature of conflict in order for the prosecution to proceed.
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